Curfew in Gombe and Kajuru as christians face growing attacks
Report by Hassan John
Fresh crisis erupted on Saturday, 27 April, when the funeral procession of nine Boys Brigade members, killed on Easter Sunday, was attacked by Muslim youths, forcing the state government to impose a curfew in the town, “to prevent further deterioration” of the situation, Charles Iliya, Deputy Governor of Gombe State, said.
The Boys, aged between 11 and 21 from the Evangelical Church Wining All (ECWA) in Bogo, Barunde, Tabra and Madaki communities, in Gombe, south eastern Nigeria, were killed when a Muslim Security officer of the Civil Defence Corp, ran into their parade on Easter Sunday, wounding 32 other members of the Brigade.
Though the circumstances behind the attack on the funeral procession is still not very clear, witnesses said mourners who started the funeral procession from the Gombe Specialist Hospital where mourners assembled to taking the nine bodies to a Church, the procession was interrupted by Muslim youths at Jekadafari area of the Metropolis who threw stones at the mourners. The situation soon deteriorated into an all out attack and vehicles on the streets were destroyed. A witness account said there was very little security presence to offer protection for the funeral procession, considering the fact that a car ran into the Christian group a week earlier, the witness pointed out.
Responding to the killing of members of the Boys Brigade by its officer, the Deputy Commandant-General in charge of Crisis Management of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr Emmanuel Adesoji, distanced the organization from the car attack saying, “When we saw on screen and read on national dailies what happened, we were not happy, but as a responsible organization, we are here to show our innocence,” the command said it wants “to put it on records that what happened on that day was an isolated event by an individual,” Adesoji told the Gombe State government in a condolence visit to the government.
Meanwhile the Kaduna State government has imposed a 24-hour-curfew on Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru Local Government Area, from Thursday 26th April, following attacks that have killed at least four people in reprisals to the alleged killing of a Muslim youth in the community.
An resident of Kasuwan Magani said, “Two of our boys were coming from a local market in the evening on Thursday and decided to follow the bypass. They were attacked and thoroughly beaten by some (Muslim)Hausa boys. One of them was taken to St. Gerald Hospital where he later died as a result of the beating.” The attack followed the Killing of a British citizen and her friend, a week earlier. A statement by the Kaduna state government said.
In both Kajuru and Gombe, the Christian community have been attacked severally by both Islamic Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen militias. Churches have been destroyed and dozens of christians targeted and killed. Victims still await some sort of justice, “but many know that as long as the government which is supposed to be secular, chooses to side with the muslim fundamentalists and jihadists, Christian will never see justice in Gombe of Kaduna,” a Church leader in Gombe who pleaded anonymity said.