7 feared dead as Christian, Muslim youths clash over girls in Kaduna

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No fewer than seven persons were killed, yesterday, while 15 others were injured, as Christian and Muslim youths clashed at Kasuwan Magani Local Government Area of Kaduna State over forcible conversion and dating of girls of opposite faith.

Several houses were also set ablaze in the bloody clash. There were conflicting reports on what triggered the crisis but one account said some Christian youths in the town went about beating girls for allegedly dating Muslim boys, while another account claimed that some youths in the area went berserk when report filtered into town that there was an attempt to forcibly convert some Christian girls who were allegedly taken to the residence of the local chief.

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It was, however, gathered that there had been simmering crisis in the area between adherents of the two faith before things came to a head yesterday morning.

The community, which is about 31 kilometers from Kaduna city, is located along the highway connecting Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue states as well as the southern part of Kaduna State. Commuters plying that route were stranded for several hours, following the incident.

Residents alleged that security personnel did not arrived until around 2 pm when a combined team of soldiers and police were deployed to tackle the situation. Spokesman of Kaduna State Police Command, Aliyu Mukhtar, told Vanguard in a telephone interview that the situation had been brought under control.

Aliyu said Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations had relocated to the area. He said: “We got a distress called in the morning that there was tension in Kasuwa Magani. The Assistant Commissioner of Police is already there as I am talking to you with his men. “Mobile policemen have been deployed to the place. So the situation has been brought under control. ‘

’I cannot give details about the cause of the problem now until investigations are concluded. We are yet to obtain the number of casualties but we are on top of the situation,” he said.

El-Rufai demands prosecution culprits

In a swift reaction, Governor Nasir el-Rufai directed that all persons responsible for the crisis be arrested and prosecuted. A statement by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, said while condemning the incidence, Governor El-Rufai expressed his sympathy to those affected by the incidence. He directed the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, to take inventory of damage done and provide relief materials with immediate effect.

The statement added that security forces had been deployed to contain the situation, protect lives and property and prevent any further breakdown of law and order. The governor urged all citizens and communities to reject violence and division, and uphold their neighbours in peace and harmony.

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