Updated: Youths kill Pastor, burn church in Katsina as gunmen waste 76 in Kaduna, Plateau and Yobe

Posted by News Express | 5 February 2014 | 6,367 times

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It was a tale of violence and needless bloodletting as irate youths in Kankia town in Kankia local government area of Katsina State yesterday killed a Pastor and burnt his church even as about 76 persons were killed over the past two days as gunmen attacked some communities in Plateau, Kaduna and Yobe states.

In the Katsina incident, ECWA Pastor Dike Ocha, 50, was murdered and both his church and residence razed in connection with the death of a six-year-old girl named Fatima Yusuf.

Trouble started when the body of Fatima, who had been declared missing for four days, was found close to the residence of the pastor. The body was mutilated, with the private parts removed.

“The youth mischievously concluded that the body was dumped by the pastor and hence, attacked him,” reports LEADERSHIP. “He was reportedly rescued and rushed to the hospital, but his attackers followed him to the hospital where they killed him and set his corpse ablaze.”

Confirming the incident to journalists, the Katsina State Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Hurdi, said the attackers presumed the pastor to be the killer of the girl and so, took the laws into their hands by setting him ablaze.

Hurdi said the Eze Igbo of Kankia who was at the residence of the pastor at the time of the attack escaped narrowly, as he was also attacked by the rampaging youths, adding that the eze’s properties were set ablaze by youths who removed his properties and set it on fire.

“It is unthinkable to assume that the pastor having killed the girl for whatever purpose, would go ahead to dump her body near his house. This is the work of some mischief-makers who wanted to create the impression that the pastor committed the crime. But we will investigate the matter to bring perpetrators to book,” Hurdi enthused.

Reporting on the wanton killings in Plateau, Kaduna and Yobe states, The Guardian says:

“The attack in Plateau came less than 24 hours after a security stakeholders’ meeting was organised by the state police command to find lasting peace in the area.

“A source said that about 30 persons were killed in two communities in Riyom Local Council of the state.

“An eyewitness, Mr. Rufus Gyang, told journalists yesterday: ‘The attackers stormed the two villages in their hundreds about 3.00 a.m. today (yesterday) and started shooting sporadically, killing innocent villagers in their sleep.

“ ‘Homes belonging to villagers were burnt down by the attackers. The names of the villages attacked are Rajak and Atakar in Riyom Local Council of the state. Nineteen were killed in Rajak while 11 were killed in Atakar.’

“He further said that over 60 houses were razed by the gunmen.

“A member representing Riyom and Majority Leader in the state House of Assembly, Daniel Dem, confirmed the incident. He said that among those killed were two members of the Special Task Force (STF) deployed to restore law and order in the state.   

“ ‘As we speak, those killed have been given mass burial. Scores of persons were injured and have fled their homes to neighbouring villages in Kaduna State,’ he said.

“Noting that the STF operatives were not enough, Dem called on the Federal Government to deploy more troops to begin air surveillance in order to stop further attacks on the communities.

Riyom Local Council has been a battlefield for some time now. It is also in the same local council that a Chinese contractor was killed two weeks ago.

“The phone of the spokesman of the STF, Capt. Salisu Ibrahim Mustapha, was switched off and journalists could not get his comment on the incident. 

“But when contacted on phone, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Deputy Superintendent of Police Felicia Anslem confirmed the attack but could not disclose the casualty figure as at the time of filing this report.

“In Kaduna yesterday, gunmen suspected to be insurgents killed at least 30 people in Kirim, Zagan and Zandyen villages bordering Plateau State and southern part of Kaduna.

“The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Malam Aminu Lawal, faulted the purported killings in the Kaduna communities, but confirmed that there was an attack.

“Mr. Bulus Gwaza, a resident of Zankan, in Kaura Local Council of Kaduna State, said that about 100 gunmen came and started shooting indiscriminately.

“ ‘Right now, we have buried over 30 dead bodies and we are still looking for more in the three villages. Not a single house is standing now as I am speaking to you. They killed one policeman and one soldier. In fact, the soldiers have to run because of the guns that the attackers have. No one is in these villages, except some of us looking for bodies to bury. Please tell government to come to our help,’ he said.

“Debunking further the level of casualties, the PPRO said: ‘I have just spoken with the DPO of the area and he has not told me about any of such casualties. The police command will address a press conference where we will give you the update on the incident in southern part of Kaduna.’

“Yobe State Police Commissioner, Sanusi Rufai, said yesterday that suspected armed robbers attacked traders on the Ngalda road, killing 18 of them and injuring five others in Bara village.

“He told reporters yesterday at the police headquarters in Damaturu that the traders were attacked on Monday at Bara, 154 kilometres west of the state capital, before the police were alerted to the incident by residents.

“On how the traders were killed, the police commissioner said: ‘While traders were returning from Ngalda market, the suspected armed bandits attacked and killed 18 of them, 10 from Kukuwa and eight from Dokshi villages and snatched their money.’

“He added that the suspects were masked and wore army uniform.

“Sanusi further disclosed that a policeman attached to a quarry plant in Bara village was also shot dead by the fleeing bandits.

“ ‘The Joint Task Force (JTF) and police are now combing the bush and security agents across the state are on red alert,’ he said.”

Source: News Express

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