Relaymedia

Alleged 'Blasphemous' Comment In Social Media Triggered a Fracas in Nigeria Leaving a Christian and Three Other Dead

( [email protected] ) Jun 02, 2016 10:01 AM EDT
Four people were killed as a group of young Muslims went berserk because one of the victims, a Christian, posted in his social media account comments they considered blasphemy to Prophet Mohammed in Pandogari town in central Nigeria.
Police tried to contain the angry Muslims Photo: Naharnet

Four people were killed as a group of young Muslims went berserk because one of the victims, a Christian, posted in his social media account comments they considered blasphemy to Prophet Mohammed in Pandogari town in central Nigeria.

Not contented, they burned a church and looted dozens of shops, an army and police report said. The religion of the three other fatalities were not immediately known, though.

The army imposed a curfew from dusk to dawn in the entire town to contain the violence from escalating. Relations between Christians and Muslims in the equally populated West African country has long been precarious.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom last month branded Nigeria a "country of particular concern." It reported "high levels of distrust towards people of other religions and elevated levels of concern about religious conflict."

The police report confirmed that 24-year-old trader Methodus Chimaije Emmanuel was on the road when ganged up by a group of young Muslims without provocation. The attacked drew more Muslims, who joined in burning a nearby church and looting of shops, mostly owned by Christians.

Major NC Agwu, the assistant director of the army's public relations, said arrests were made, and all the suspects were turned over to the local police for detention and filing of criminal charges.

Troops from the 31 Artillery Brigade of the 1st Army Division had to be mobilized to enforce the curfew and contain the violence from escalating to neighboring towns.

There was a lull, but before sunrise Muslims blocked the Lagos-Kaduna Road, a major artery connecting the northern and southern parts of the country threatening to attack Christians who would be on site.

"Again, troops joined by personnel of Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) took control of the situation to forestall escalation of violence and any threat to the peace in the town," Agwu said.