Nigeria’s government says 55 people have been killed in the latest eruption of communal violence in north-central Kaduna state.
A spokesman says President Muhammadu Buhari condemns the fighting that led to Thursday’s killings in Kasuwan Magani and that “frequent resort to bloodshed by Nigerians over misunderstandings that can be resolved peacefully is worrisome.”
Kaduna’s governor cites the state police commissioner as saying that more than 20 people have been arrested. The governor urges “peace and harmony despite ethnic and religious diversity.”
Bodies of many victims of Thursday’s mayhem at Kasuwan Magani community were taken to Kaduna yesterday to prevent further escalation of hostilities.
Many residents said tens of bodies were put in vehicles and taken to morgues of three different hospitals in Kaduna town.
There was an outbreak of hostilities at the Kasuwan Magani market on Thursday at about 5:30 pm which left many dead while several houses were burnt.
The state government imposed a 24-hour curfew in the community and security agents were drafted to the place.
A resident told our correspondent that many bodies were taken away by volunteers and security agents at night after dispersing the fighting youths.
He said,” We deposited 19 corpses at Barau Dikko, 3 at St. Gerard’s and many at Dr. Gwamna Awan Hospital, Kakuri.”
Another source who requested anonymity said many bodies were also discovered in the morning and taken away.
“Many bodies were discovered in the night and this morning, but they cleared the place and took the corpses to Kaduna,” he said.
The police spokesman did not pick calls for comment when our correspondent called him for reaction.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai visited the community yesterday evening and urged residents to shun violence and live in peace.
El-Rufai assured residents of the community that the government would act in the interest of peace and harmony by prosecuting those responsible for the violence.
The governor led a team of senior government officials to Kasuwan Magani around 4pm and immediately received briefings from the Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Abdurahaman and thereafter toured the town, accompanied by traditional and religious leaders.
He said, “We are here to see and to listen for ourselves. We must live in peace and never use violence to solve a problem. We are not happy with this and government will pursue and punish those responsible for this devilish act.
“We must value the sanctity of life. I want to beg you to cooperate with the security agencies because prosecution of conflict entrepreneurs is inevitable. I will come back in one week time to see how things are.”
The Kaduna State Peace Commission also conveyed its sympathies to those that were affected by the violence. The Chief Executive Officer of the commission, Priscilla Ankut, appealed to all the people of the area to remain calm, respect law and order and refrain from action that could lead to violence.
Central Nigeria has seen bouts of deadly communal violence that some blame on ethnic and religious differences and others blame on tensions over increasingly scarce resources in Africa’s most populous nation.
Nigeria is about equally divided between a largely Christian south and Muslim north.
– Associated Press