Scores injured in Kaduna clashes

Police reinforcement sent to forestall a breakdown of law and order

Calm has returned to Kaduna after clashes early Monday left many injured, residents say.

One witness said three people were killed, but that could not be confirmed.

Witnesses said the clashes took place in the Kabala West Nariya and Umuazu communities, and almost degenerated into a religious crisis between Christians and Muslims.

“Kaduna is a very funny state, I live in this area and we all live together (as) Muslims and Christians, but easily a small fight between friends can escalate to become a religious fight,” one resident told PREMIUM TIMES.

He said before the morning attack, three bodies were found in the affected areas, and by 5 a.m., some gangs had gathered to attack residents of opposite faith.

“Christian youth are attacking Muslims where they are more, and Muslims doing so in areas they are more,” he said. “Many travellers could not pass through the Eastern Bypass especially those going to Abuja and coming to pass through Kaduna to even airport.”

The source asked not to be named.

Samuel Aruwan, the spokesperson for Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said the situation was under control.

“The situation in Kabala West, Kaduna South Local Government Area is under control. Security operatives are on ground,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

Police spokesperson, Aliyu Usman, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Early Monday, residents of were seen around the Nnamdi Azikwe Way scampering for safety as police used tear gas to disperse youth who attempted to block the highway.

Police reinforcement were seen racing to the area to forestall a breakdown of law and order.

Abdulazeez Salisu, a local chief and Sarkin Aruwan Ungwan Muazu, told PREMIUM TIMES that some traders at Kabala West were attacked on their way back to their residents at Ungwan Muazu.

“I was alerted late Sunday night on phone. We tried to reach the authorities concerned to alert them of the incident.

“The Kabal West community leaders know those culprits. No action was taken against them, that’s why we have a fallout of the unrest today. But, we are satisfied with the action taken by law enforcement agants,” he said.

“We were told that three people were killed, but, we cannot ascertain the death until after investigation later in the day.”

Bello Dantsoho, acting district head of Ungwan Muazu, said, “Information reaching me from the community leaders of the area said some people wanted to take the laws into their hands when a body was discovered on Saturday night in Kabala West.

“They started destroying a mosque in the area in an attempt to generate reprisal action.

“Another body was also found yesterday (Sunday), which caused this pandemonium and trying to make it a religious crisis, which is not the cause.

“No life was lost in today’s unrest as far as we know, except for injuries when some youths tried to take advantage of what happened.

“But, everything is under control now, the police and the army are doing their best to restore law and order and we are satisfied with their efforts,” he said.

He called on the youth and residents to remain calm and not to take the law into hands.

Mohammed Lawal, the village head of Kabala West, said the body discovered on Saturday night was found inside a Christian bury ground.

“What happed was that a body of a 20-year-old youth was discovered inside a Christian cemetery in Kabala West.

“Instead of the people to allow the law enforcement to investigate, they went about destroying mosques which aggravated the issue.

“This morning again, we woke up to discover a body allegedly killed last night,” he said.

He advised security agencies to call for a meeting with traditional and community leaders to jointly investigate the remote cause of the unrest.

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