Nigerian village shaken by religious violence


File Photo: Youths on protest in Kaduna

Kaduna state governor, Mukhtar Yero has visited a village in the southern part of the state, shaken by the latest inter-religious violence.

A Christian family of seven was killed in Unguwar Kajit, prompting a revenge attack on Muslims in which one person died. A group of unknown gunmen in a car and on motorbikes had stormed the family’s house and opened fire, provoking counter-assault by Christian youths against muslim targets.

Yero’s spokesman, Ahmed Maiyaki said Yero “condemned the attack and prayed that God should expose the perpetrators”, he added.

An investigation has been launched to find the attackers and the governor vowed to boost security by using local vigilante groups to prevent any repeat

There were similar attacks in the area in the past, notably after the last presidential election in 2011, in which southern Christian Goodluck Jonathan beat northern Muslim Muhammadu Buhari.

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Youth leader Emmanuel Zadiok said of the latest attack: “The gunmen came in the middle of the night and forced their way into a home and shot dead all the seven members of a Christian family.

“Christian youth provoked by the attack, which they blamed on Fulani Muslims, mobilised and launched reprisal attacks, burning mosques and houses.”

Mohammed Yakub, a Muslim resident, confirmed the killing and said one person died when three mosques and several homes were burnt in the reprisals.

“On Friday, an irate crowd of Christian youth went on rampage and attacked Muslims, burning homes and mosques, accusing (them) of the killings,” he added. One person was burnt alive in one of the three mosques.”

After the 2011 violence, Human Rights Watch estimated that more than 500 people, most of them Muslim, had been killed in southern Kaduna in three days of rioting that gripped the Muslim-majority north.