Kaduna boils as Christian, Muslim youths clash
. Churches, mosques destroyed in Kaduna
A 'holy war' broke out in Kachia town in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna State yesterday, as Muslim and Christian youths engaged each others in violent attacks.
Several churches and mosques were demolished and burnt in the attacks and counter attacks.
According to accounts, the trouble erupted when some youths went to fence a prayer-ground against encroachment, but discovered that a part of the land that was earlier renovated and fenced had been damaged by unknown persons.
The youths, it was gathered, reported the incident to the local government Chairman, Mr. Peter Agaite, who promised to foot the bill of the renovation of the damaged portion, but he was yet to fulfill the promise, when yesterday, the youth saw another damaged done to the prayer ground.
It was at this point, the source stated that the youths, suspected members of a nearby church to be responsible for the damages and demolished the church.
In retaliation, some members of the church allegedly demolished a nearby mosques in the area.
According to one account, Nassara Baptist Church was set ablaze by angry Muslim youths and, in retaliation, Christians youths set two mosques ablaze.
Two houses and many shops have also been set ablaze.
A report cites a top government functionary from Kachia local government as saying that “two weeks ago, some youth went to fence Muslims' prayer ground known as Eid to prevent encroachment of people into the ground but they couldn't finish the work that day; and when they went back, they discovered that a portion of the fence was demolished by unknown persons”.
“The youths alerted the local government chairman, Mr Peter Agaite, and he promised to repair the damaged portion but failed to do so.
“Today (yesterday) when the youth went back to continue the work, they saw another portion of the ground damaged again. And out of suspicion they demolished a nearby church.
“The youths of the demolished church did not take it lightly, and they too started demolishing a nearby mosque, and there was tension and panic everywhere in Kachia and environs,” said the government official.
But the state police command has assured that the situation was under control, and that no life was lost, just as it warned that a 24-hour curfew had been imposed on the area by the state government.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Aminu Lawal, a Superintendent of Police (SP) said “the situation is under control as our men are fully on ground. No life was lost, but we don't have the number of worship places that were burnt. We will let you know in due course as we don't want to give wrong figures.”
A 24-hour curfew was immediately imposed on Kachia local government area to avoid the crisis escalating into other parts of the state.
There were reports of killings as at the time of filing this report, but there was no official confirmation.
The state governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, implored the people in Kachia town and environs to remain calm and shun any attempt by enemies of peace to escalate misunderstanding in the area as government had brought the situation under control.
Ia statement by his spokesman, Ahmed Maiyaki, the governor urged all citizens residing in Kachia to avoid taking laws into their own hands as government was already working with all security agencies to ensure the protection of life and property of the people.
“Government will not fold its arms and allow 'enemies of peace' cause mayhem in our state. I call on all law-abiding citizens to go about their businesses without fear of intimidation as security forces have already been directed to deal decisively with troublemakers,” he said.
Governor Yero assured the people that security agencies had already commenced investigations into the cause of the crisis and would not spare anyone found culpable no matter their status in the society. “We will no longer tolerate these acts of unwarranted violence against innocent citizens. Enough is enough?”
WAR of words raged on Sunday among the opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), the presidency and the ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over the security situation in the country and the abduction of Chibok girls.
In Lagos, the interim national chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, at a world press conference, lamented that the nation was on auto-pilot and needed all to save it, while he listed 0-point approach towards ending the menace of Boko Haram in the country. He also welcomed the assistance being offered by the international community in rescuing the over 200 Chibok girls.