Four killed in Niger State over allegations of blasphemy

The 31 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Minna, on Tuesday said the religious violence, which claimed four lives in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger on Sunday, had been brought under control.

Njideka Agwu, a major and the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations Officer (APRO), who made this known to journalists in Minna, said the army, police and the NSCDC had restored peace in the area.

She said Methodus Emmanuel, a 24-year-old trader based in Padongari, was killed on Sunday by a mob over allegations of blasphemy.

“Three other persons, including personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps also lost their lives.

“Troops of the 31 Artillery Brigade of One Division, Nigeria Army, quickly intervened and restored law and order while a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed in the town,’’ she said.

Ms. Agwu also said that a religious house, a house and a shop were burnt while 25 other shops were looted following the violence.

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She said that the hoodlums embarked on further violence on Monday morning, looting shops and blocking the Lagos – Kaduna road, a major highway connecting the northern and southern parts of the country.

The spokesperson said that the army had made some arrests in connection with the incident, adding that the suspects had been handed over to the police.

“The army and other security agencies have commenced confidence building patrols in all the nooks and crannies of the area toward restoring peace.

“As part of measures to de-escalate tension and ensure lasting peace in the town, the military is working with the local government council authorities and community leaders, including the Kagara Emirate Council, to pacify all aggrieved parties and build on the peace so far established,’’ she said.

Ms. Agwu said that the army would continue with its non-violent approach to maintaining peace in the area.

She, however, warned that the army would deal with any person attempting to promote violence in the community.

Ms. Agwu enjoined members of the public to abide by the conditions of the curfew put in place in order to maintain peace.(NAN)

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