Nigeria: Religious Crisis Spreads To Borno, Yobe, Kano

Here it is the report by the nigerian online daily, by Sukuji Bakoji (Kaduna), Chesa Chesa (Abuja), Augustine Madu-West (Kano), Abdulkareem Haruna (Maiduguri), Godwin Egbara (Bauchi) Dele Moses (Ilorin) and Mohammed Abubakar (Damaturu).

The North is on the boil from the grip of Islamic hardliners on rampage in Bauchi, Maiduguri, Potiskum, and Kano – cities in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, and Kano States – where over 300 people were reportedly killed on Monday.
About 600 have died since last Friday.

Full blown violence erupted in Maiduguri on Monday when police engaged hard core jihadists who busted police barracks, prison gates, and razed vehicles.

President Umaru Yar,Adua reacted in Abuja by ordering the security agencies to take full charge of operations in the four states where the ,,sad and shocking,, attacks occurred.

His Spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi, said the directive is that ,,no effort should be spared in identifying, arresting and prosecuting leaders and members of the extremist sects involved in the attacks.,,

Security is to be beefed up in all neighbouring states and security personnel placed on full alert to ensure the attacks by the ,,misguided elements,, do not spread elsewhere.

Adeniyi said Yar,Adua ,,deeply regrets the unnecessary loss of lives occasioned by the wanton and unprovoked attacks on the police and other innocent Nigerians in the affected states.

,,His heartfelt sympathies are with the families of the gallant policemen who have lost their lives while defending their posts from the senseless attacks as well as other innocent victims who may have been caught up in this unjustifiable mayhem.

,,(He) reaffirms his determination to deal decisively with all those whose misguided beliefs and actions promote violence and contempt for the rights of others, while undermining national peace, stability and security.,,

About 200 people were killed in Maiduguri, as supporters of an Islamic sect made real their threat to replicate in Nigeria the battles in Afghanistan and Somalia.

Last Friday, residents of Maiduguri had been kept awake all night with the fear spread by the explosion of a locally made bomb in the home of an Islamist. One person died.

In neighouring Bauchi on Sunday, at least 200 members of Islamic fundamentalists known as ,,Boko Haram,, also died.

A clash in that city in February between Muslim and Christian communities had left four persons dead.
As reprisal for the incident in Bauchi on Sunday, the Muhammed Yusuf sect on Monday attacked the police headquarters barracks in Maiduguri, killed an officer, and set ablaze eight residential blocks.

The group proceeded to the new prison complex and used bombs and other explosive devices to break in and set the inmates loose.

Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, ordered a dusk to dawn curfew in the city.

Before he did, the joint military/police security team had opened fire on the hoodlums, killing several.

Beside the bodies of the slain sect members – most of whom dressed in military camouflage – were arms and ammunition such as RPGs, AK47 rifles, dane guns, bows, arrows, and swords. There were also charms.

A journalist working with Media Trust, Ahmed Salkida, was kidnapped by the sect members while he was monitoring the uprising.

Salkida telephoned his colleagues, told them he was held by hostile groups, and asked them to pray for his safety.

All efforts to contact him again failed as his lines were switched off.

Fleeing residents of Maiduguri were beaten back by reports of similar uprising in Bauchi – and in Pokistum, where jihadists attacked a police station and slaughtered officers on duty and set ablaze the buildings of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Nigeria Population Commission (NPC), and Calvary Baptist Church.

The wife of the Pastor of the church recounted that ,,they came at about 2 a.m. with arms and started firing at our church. Later they jumped over the wall and came with gallons of petrol, opened up the service room and set ablaze three sets of guitar, sets of drums, public address system, and plastic chairs.

,,We thought they were thieves but later discovered it was a religious group. We found six bullet ammunition.

They intended burning the church completely but God was not on their side.,,

The Islamists, about 40 of them, rode on motor cycles to the police station where they opened fire, stabbed three officers, including the District Crime Officer (DCO), Ogu Fedenare, and an official of the Fire Service in the neighbouring building.

They shouted ,,Allahu Akbar,, as they did.

Potiskum Police Area Commander, M.A. Mustapha, said ,,the suspects are indigenes of the town, we visited their houses most of their wives confessed to us that the men did not pass the night at home. It is a suicide attack, they came on motocycles and rode straight to the police station. They took some of our arms.,,

Police Commissioner, Mohammed Abbas Murtala confirmed that ,,we have arrested 23 people. As for the arms taken away we cannot say the number for now because some policemen were on duty, and we do not know which arms were taken away by the policemen and the culprits.

,,We have seven injured policemen, we took all measures we could adopt, we have been fine tuning our strategies, we recovered some ammunition.,,

In Kano, residents were gripped by anxiety following confrontation between the police and fanatical Muslim sect in Wudil, in which three people were killed and several others wounded.

The police said the agitation of the Kano group is similar to that of the Bauchi fundamentalists, corroborated by their leader, Abdulmimuni Ibrahim Mohammed, who was arrested along with dozens of his surrogates.

Mohammed admitted at police headquarters that their mission is to press home their demand for the abolition of Western education in the country it does not have a place in ,,Islam and so represents evil.,,

He said they acted in solidarity with their colleagues in Bauchi, and were on their way to Borno when the police arrested them.

Police Spokesman, Baba Mohammed, confirmed that the Islamists stole AK 47 rifles from the police station, and injured police officers.

,,We have been proactive since the Borno and Bauchi crises broke out. Everything point to the fact that this incident is connected with the Bauchi unrest, we see it as a spill over,,, he added.

Assistant Inspector General of Zone 12, in charge of Bauchi, Borno and Yobe States, Moses Anaegbode, said among the objectives of the jihadists is elimination of security operatives before attacking members of the public.

He explained that their grievance against the police is that the authorities do not allow them to practise their religion.

Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda, expressed happiness over the arrest of the attackers, noting that if they had succeeded, perhaps the seat of power would have gone up in flames.

Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of the 19 Northern States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja also condemned the violence.

ACF National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, said the attacks by ,,religious militants who claim Western education is a taboo are regrettable and, thus, condemnable by (ACF) and peace-loving Nigerians.

,,This is because, as (United States President Barack) Obama pointed out to Muslim world in Egypt, Islam has contributed to civilisation and technology to the present stage of technological development in both western and Muslim world.,,

CAN Publicity Secretary, John Josept Hayab, said the jihadists are the true enemies of the government, hence they should be fished out and prosecuted along with their sponsors.

,,It is just a confirmation of what the Sultan said a few days ago that nothing is working; because if our security
cannot work, then nothing is working.

,,We, the Christians, are throwing this challenge to the door of our security agencies; what are they doing? So we are afraid that when this type of crisis is given religious colouration, the next people that will be targeted will be Christians,,, he warned.

,,If the government is not doing anything now, the next thing you find is that churches will be torched, innocent Christians will be killed, and it becomes a problem.,,

Police in Kaduna confirmed the arraignment of 21 members of the Islamic Sect in Malali area last week.
Deputy Police Commissioner, Isaac Ike, told reporters that ,,we brought them here, had interaction with them; and when we saw that perhaps they are going to be security risk, they were arrested and charged to court.,,



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