Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Religious Crisis in Bauchi--2 Soldiers, 4 Children, 2 Others Killed

Religious crisis in Bauchi - 2 soldiers, 4 children, 2 others killed -

Many injured, houses burnt - Police, Army hold meeting

Ishola Michael, Bauchi - 29.12.2009
Nigerian Tribune

NO fewer than eight people, including two soldiers and four children were, on Monday, feared killed while a number of houses were burnt in another religious crisis which erupted in Zango, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis, when an Islamic sect called Kala-Kato went on the rampage demanding for the release of their leader arrested by the authorities.

Two civilians, whose identities are yet to be confirmed, were also killed in the crisis. Those killed, according to unconfirmed reports, were two soldiers from the 33 Field Artillery Brigade, Bauchi, who were drafted to the troubled area alongside other security operatives, while the four children were burnt when their parents’ house was set ablaze by the rampaging sect members who were mainly children aged between 10 and 15 with backup from adult members of the sect.

One of the neighbours of the notorious sect, that is claiming to be the remnants of the original ‘Maitatsine’ sect of the 80s, said that they sensed trouble early yesterday morning, when the preacher of the sect gave a sermon in which he insulted other Muslim sects, calling them infidels.

According to Kamal Adamu, who spoke in Hausa, “I live at the Zango main road but this street is called Saidawa. I was at the open preaching of the sect yesterday night (Sunday) and this morning (Monday) when the preacher questioned the rationale behind the killing of the dreaded Boko Haram members, when all the sect was preaching against is reality.”

He added that “one of the listeners challenged the preacher and he was dealt with there and then, while another who called on the people to leave the place of the preaching was killed instantly. And before we knew what was happening, the sect members had taken to the streets burning down people’s houses and maiming others. It is very unfortunate that this is happening again in Bauchi.”

When contacted, the Bauchi State Police Command Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mohammed Barau, confirmed the crisis, saying that as soon as the command got a security report, it deployed a combined team of regular policemen and mobile policemen to the area to maintain law and order, adding that as of the time of this report, the command was still awaiting situation report from those on the field.

The PRO said that the Police Commissioner, Atiku Yusuf Kafur, was not ready to comment, as he was awaiting directive from the police headquarters in Abuja, saying, however, that the situation was under control and it should be reported as such.

Meanwhile, as of the time of sending this report, a security meeting was going on between the army and the police command on how to tackle the situation. This is the third religious crisis in Bauchi in this outgoing year, including the dreaded Boko Haram, which claimed many lives and properties worth several millions of naira.

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