As the death toll from today’s sectarian violence in Kaduna State continues to climb, law enforcement officers have been given orders to shoot any perpetrators of violence at sight.
Two senior police sources in Kaduna told SaharaReporters that more than 50 people have lost their lives in a spate of attacks and counter attacks by Muslims and Christians precipitated by bomb attacks at several churches in Kaduna and Zaria.
“The government wants us not to announce the real number of those killed, but I can assure you that more than fifty lives have been lost,” said one source. He added that hundreds of people had been wounded.
Another source added that people in most parts of the state were observing the curfew, but added that the level of tension remains “very high.”
Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna had earlier declared a 24-hour curfew in the state with immediate effect.
Mr. Yakowa said it become imperative to declare the curfew considering the need to avoid escalation of violence. However, one of our police sources said that the order came after irate Christians had already taken to various streets in pursuit of Muslim targets.
Governor Yakowa has condemned the multiple bombs that targeted Christian worshipers this morning in the state. Mr. Yakowa also warned against reprisal attacks. He threatened that security operatives would deal with those seeking to take the law into their hands.
The governor’s statement, released by his media aide, Reuben Buhari, condemned “the unfortunate bombing of three churches in Wusasa in Zaria Local Government, Sabon Gari LG and Trikania, Chikun Local Government, Kaduna State.”
In declaring a curfew, the statement added: “In view of the incidents and the need to have complete normalcy and to forestall further break down of law and order, the State Government has imposed a 24 hour curfew in the whole state. The curfew hours start with immediate effect until further notice.” The statement regretted any inconveniences caused to residents of the state by the “drastic measure.”
Even so, the governor defended his action as a step “to avert further loss of lives and property in the state.”
Mr. Yakowa’s statement pleaded with the residents of Kaduna State to “ignore various mischievous texts messages currently in circulation.”
SaharaReporters learnt that the text messages galvanized members of both Islamic and Christian faiths to do battle with “common enemies.”