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Religious Riots Spread to Kano, Yobe, Borno
The violence in Nigeria continues. This is from This Day on line
The bloody clash between the police and members of an Islamic fundamentalist group known as Boko Haram (“education is sin”), which left many dead in the early hours of Sunday in Bauchi, has spread to other states in the North.
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua . . . has directed all the national security outfits to combine forces to immediately contain further spread of the religious crisis.
The militant group opposed to western education, which has been campaigning for the imposition of Sharia’h (Islamic law) on the 36 states of the federation, allegedly sparked off the crisis when its members launched an attack on a police station in Bauchi, leading to the bloodbath.
Over 150 people were left dead, while indigenes of the area are said to be fleeing their homes.
By yesterday, the attack by the group had spread to Borno, Yobe, Gombe and Kano States. But early yesterday, it emerged like a war situation in Maiduguri, Borno State as members of the sect led by one Mohammed Yusuf, who had earlier threatened to attack security installations and government establishments in the state, made good their threat.
They attacked the state police headquarters and some police stations along with some churches and mosques.
Over 100 adherents of the sect and few military personnel and police officers were said to have been killed in the clash.
It was gathered that the assault started around noon on Sunday when the fundamentalists in military camouflage stormed the police headquarters and other structures within the area in Maiduguri with petrol bomb, bows, arrows and other weapons with the aim of levelling the entire place.
The fundamentalists also gained access into the Police Mobile College, Maiduguri, beside the Police headquarters, after killing the Sergeant on guard.
They immediately moved into the quarters, burning down nine houses and slaughtering some policemen in the process before they were forced out of the area by riot policemen who shot sporadically at them.
They also attacked other parts of the town during which two police stations, Lamisula and Gamboru, were razed even as some churches and mosques were burnt with scores of civilian casualties recorded.
The new prison within Maiduguri metropolis was attacked where the fundamentalists freed inmates and killed some prison officers
It was gathered that five police officers on training at the Mobile Police College were killed at the college’s dormitory, while the Second-in-Command of the riot police in the state, simply called Superintendent Farouk, was also killed in the fundamentalists’ attack.
It was learnt that a journalist with the Daily Trust, Ahmed Salkida, was abducted for some hours by the fundamentalists for allegedly leaking information to the police authorities before he was later released after a series of appeals.
It was also discovered that all mobile networks except that of Starcomms were down for the major part of yesterday.
This was said to be for the strategic reason of preventing the militants from communicating with each other which could aid their mobilisation.
The main entry and exit points into the town have also been cordoned off and the few people moving about the town are being thoroughly searched by the police.
In Damaturu, Yobe State capital, the fundamentalists also attacked some police stations in the early hours of Monday which made the government to slam a curfew on the state.
In Kano State, the fundamentalists attacked Wudil Police Station and injured the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Sagir Idris, and one riot policeman in a gun duel.
However, the police in Kano killed three of the fundamentalists and arrested 33 others, which include some Chadians who can neither speak English nor Hausa, as they only speak Arabic.
During their surveillance on the main entrance to Kano from Bauchi and Maiduguri, the police also arrested over 100 people in two trucks, loaded with people alleged to be members of the Islamic group.
Addressing reporters at the Police Command, the state Police Commissioner Ibrahim Mamman Chafe said the suspected fundamentalists, who unleashed terror on the divisional police station and ran away with two AK 47 guns belonging to the police, left after exchanging fire with the police.
Speaking with THISDAY after being paraded at the police headquarters, one of the arrested fundamentalists, who gave his name as Mallam Abdulmuminu Ibrahim Muhammad, said he had no regret for being a member of the group.
“It is Jihad; Western education is a bad practice,” he said.
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have condemned the outbreak of the religious crisis in some parts of the North.
Publicity Secretary of CAN in 19 Northern states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Rev. John Josept Hayab, said the attacks by the sect were premeditated, even as he blamed the security agencies for not averting them.