Authorities in Nigeria have deployed special police forces to northern Kaduna and declared a 24-hour curfew in the state’s capital following communal violence that killed dozens of people.
President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the deployment on Sunday, as the regional government imposed the measure in Kaduna city after violence broke out on its streets.
The clashes followed violence that broke out on Thursday between Muslim and Christian communities in the Kasuwan Magani area of southern Kaduna which left at least 55 people dead.
“The violence in Kaduna … is condemnable. The police have been authorised to do everything possible to restore calm. A Special Intervention Force has been deployed to the flashpoints,” Buhari said on Twitter.
“The federal government and its law enforcement agencies will work with the state government and community leaders to ensure the full restoration of peace and security,” Buhari said in another message.
The disregard for the sanctity of human life is unacceptable. Violence is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good. I appeal to community leaders and citizens to always choose dialogue, patience and tolerance, to prevent crises from escalating into violence.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) October 21, 2018
Police said the special force deployed on Sunday will carry out stop and search patrols, raid suspected criminal hideouts and make arrests in areas that have been flashpoints or considered to be at risk of violence.
Local people, who described unrest in both Christian and Muslim areas of the state capital, said troops were also seen on the city’s streets.
A spokesperson for Governor Nasir El-Rufai, in a statement on Facebook, appealed to the city’s residents to “do their best to uphold the peace”.
Ahmad Abdur-Rahman, the state police commissioner, told reporters on Friday that 22 people had been arrested in connection with the clashes.
Kaduna was plunged into communal violence after fighting erupted between Hausa Muslim and Adara Christian youths in Kasuwan Magani’s market following a dispute among wheelbarrow porters.
Two people were said to have been killed in the initial market fracas on Thursday.
The violence then dramatically escalated when Adara youths later attacked Hausa residents, burning homes and killing dozens.
“Most of the killings were done in the second attack which took the Hausa community off guard,” Muhammadu Bala, a Kasuwan Magani resident who lost his home, told AFP news agency over the weekend.
Kaduna state is where Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north meets the predominantly Christian south and has seen previous bouts of communal violence.
In February, clashes left at least 10 people dead and hundreds of homes and businesses burned. Major bouts of sectarian rioting in 2000 and 2002 killed thousands.
Last year, troops and additional police officers were deployed to the state in response to an outbreak of violence.
Source: News Agencies