4 killed, church, others burnt as religious violence breaks out in Niger


Abuja – Following the outbreak of religious
violence in Pandogari, Rafi local government area
of Niger state and the killing of a Christian, over
alleged blasphemous comments about Prophet
Mohammed on the social media, the Nigerian
Army has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the
town.

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A statement signed by Major NC Agwu, Assistant
Director, Army Public Relations, said the curfew
came into effect as rioters embarked on violence,
looting shops and blocking the Lagos – Kaduna
Road, a major artery connecting the northern
and southern parts of the country.

“Regrettably, one church, one house and a shop
were burnt while 25 other shops were looted
following the violence. Three other persons
including personnel of the NSCDC also lost their
lives” it said.

Continuing it said, “Some arrests have been made
in connection with the violence and the suspects
handed over to the police. The military and other
security agencies are currently embarking on
confidence building patrols in all nooks and
crannies of the town.

Giving further details on the violence, Major
Ugwu said, “At about 6pm on Sunday, 29 May
2016, one Mr. Methodus Chimaije Emmanuel, a
24 year old trader based in Pandogari, Rafi LGA
of Niger State was attacked and killed by a mob
in the town on allegation of posting a
blasphemous statement about Prophet
Muhammad on the social media.

“Troops of 31 Artillery Brigade of 1 Division,
Nigerian Army on operation MESA quickly
intervened and restored law and order while a
dusk to dawn curfew was imposed in the town.

“Early Monday morning however, the rioters
embarked on further violence, looting shops and
blocking the Lagos – Kaduna Road, a major artery
connecting the northern and southern parts of the
country.

“Again, troops in conjunction with the personnel
of Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil
Defence Corps (NSCDC) took control of the
situation to forestall escalation of violence and
any threat to the peace in the town.

“As part of the measures to de-escalate tensions
and ensure a 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.

“However, while the military will continue with
its current non-violent approach to maintaining
peace in Pandogari town, it will not take kindly to
any unscrupulous element who would attempt to
visit violence on innocent and law abiding
Nigerians.

“The general public is therefore warned to abide
by the conditions of the curfew so far emplaced.
All law abiding citizens are enjoined to go about
their legitimate businesses without any fear of
intimidation.

“They are to be rest assured that the security
forces will remain fully present to guarantee their
safety and security across the length and breadth
of the town, within their rules of engagement.”

sammiejozie

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