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Angry youths set police station, church ablaze in Kaduna State

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Angry Kaduna youths

There was pandemonium in Kaduna yesterday morning when hundreds of angry youths set a police station ablaze in Narayi area of the state.

The intervention by the state police command in deploying armed policemen to the troubled area saved the situation from escalating.

Prior to the incident, the rampaging youth were said to have burnt down a Narayi parish of the Celestial Church of Christ, Bayan Dutse, in Chikun local council of Kaduna, over the death of a youth, simply named as Sylvester, suspected to have allegedly been used for ritual purposes.

He was said to have died working in the church.

It was gathered that trouble started when the youths demanded that the police in Narayi hand over to them the pastor in charge of the church where the victim died, Babatunde Shittu.

Sources told newsmen that the police had taken the pastor into protective custody after he had reported that a youth doing some construction work for the church had died in the process.

When journalists visited the scene of the incident, there were heavily armed policemen in several trucks keeping vigil in the area. An eyewitness who was at the at the site of the burnt police station, said when the angry youth came, the police on duty were outnumbered, and took to their heels for safety.

He added that the youths, besides torching the police station, made away with not fewer than seven motorcycles belonging to the police personnel as well as vandalising a Honda Accord vehicle, belonging to a police officer.

When the burnt church was visited yesterday, the fire was still burning. Within the church premises, four buildings were also pulled down.

Meanwhile, another source said the deceased, who is in his early 20s, attends the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) church in Narayi. He said the deceased before his death was serving as a mason boy to the pastor of the church who was building a demarcation inside a river beside the church when he suddenly fell into the river and died. 

It was further alleged that some protesting youths were arrested in connection with the incident, but the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Mukhtar Aliyu, was unable to confirm the allegation when contacted. He promised to get back and speak on the incident but never did at the time of filing the report.

Meanwhile, the state governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has condemned in strong terms, the burning of the church and police post. He however ordered full investigation to unravel the circumstances leading to the death of the young Sylvester, whose death prompted the riotous conduct.

The governor in a statement through his media aide, Samuel Aruwan, condemned the burning of the church and police station, saying “it is wrong for and illegal for anyone or group to take the law into their hands.

“The governor commiserated with the family of the deceased, but added that everyone who had concerns about the circumstances of his death would allow the law enforcement agencies to handle the matter.

“Kaduna State Government will not tolerate attacks on places of worship and public property such as the police post. In a state that has endured four decades of violent conflict, there can be no condoning an attack on the offices of security agencies or a place of worship, an act that has often invited needless reprisals and escalation.”


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