Following a violent clash between Muslims and Christian youths in the community, an unconfirmed number of people were reportedly killed and several houses set ablaze in Kasuwan Magani village, Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State Monday.
Another unspecified number of people were also said to have sustained injuries as the youth engaged each other with dangerous weapons.
There was no official confirmation on the casualties but unconfirmed reports said about 12 persons died during the clash, which was said to have occurred at about 10.30 a.m. Monday.
There were conflicting reasons for the cause of the outbreak in violence, with one version claiming that some Christian men went about beating Christian girls who were dating Muslim boys. Another version claimed that a Christian girl was abducted and converted to Islam and taken to the residence of the Sarkin (Chief of) Kasuwan Magani.
A Christian youth resident in the area who did not want his name in print, alleged that the Muslims were abducting Christian girls and converting them to Islam.
Sources said the problem has been a long-standing one in the community. A source disclosed that recently a Christian girl was beaten by Christian boys, forcing her mother to report the matter to the police, but the police were chased away by other youths who were invited by the culprits.
Many residents, especially women and children, were said to have fled their homes Monday to safe areas as a result of the clash.
The community, which is about 31 kilometres away from Kaduna city, is located along the highway connecting Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue States, as well as the southern part of Kaduna State. Commuters plying that route were stranded for several hours following the incident. Residents alleged that security personnel did not arrive until around 2 p.m. when a combined team of soldiers and police were deployed to tackle the situation.
As of press time, the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Aliyu Mukhtar, told said that the situation had been brought under control.
Kaduna State Government Monday directed the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the violence and bring them to justice. The government, in a statement by Samuel Aruwan, spokesman for Governor Nasir el-Rufai, condemned the wanton destruction of lives and property. The statement called on all citizens and communities to reject violence and divisions and uphold their neighbours in peace and harmony.