March 9, 2015 – Nigerian Soldiers & Catholic Church Worshippers Clashed In Kaduna During Mass, 6 Killed
A violent clash between some military men and some worshippers in Southern Kaduna yesterday led to the death of no fewer than six people. Many others were injured.
The soldiers allegedly shot security guards of St. Peters Catholic Church Gidan-Waya area of Jama’a local government in Kaduna State who mounted a temporary stop and search check point in front of their church during service.
According to a man who simply identified himself as Christopher, a residence of Gidan-Waya, “the clash occured at about 10am when church service was on. A soldier approached the church’s watch men popularly known as Cadet and ordered them to dismantle the temporary check point during the church service, but the boys refused the order on the argument that church service was ongoing and that they would do as soon as service was over, but the soldier was dissatisfied with the explanation.
The soldier reportedly went back and mobilised his colleagues who came and started firing at the local guards.
“The gunshots ended the church service. Women and youths immediately reacted to the shooting by confronting the soldiers as a result of which one Soldier and three civilians were injured,” said Christopher.
The situation led to a clash between residents and soldiers.
Another eye witness said a block of flat at a staff quarters belonging to Kaduna State college of Education Gidan- Waya occupied by the military personnel, was burnt with two guns carted away.
According to a resident who identified himself as Bulbs Jatau: “Six people were killed, a flat occupied by some army personnel burnt while many people were injured.”
Similarly, a lecturer at the college who pleaded anonymity said a 200-level student was among the people killed by bullets.
“A soldier has a motorcycle he uses as a means of transportion. The cadet boys manning the Church during Mass had told him that each time there is Church programme, he should not increase the acceleration of his motorcycle but he refused to abide by what the boys told him.
“Today, he was passing during church Mass and the road was closed. He started shouting at the boys asking why they blocked the road, as the argument was ongoing, he returned to a check-point and mobilised other army personnel and they came shooting.
“As they were shooting, a certain man coming back from another church was hit by the bullet and he died instantly. One of the cadet boys was shot but he died at a hospital,” said the lecture.
Another eyes witness said youth and women of the community were protesting naked, mobile policemen were mobilised from Kafanchan shot tear-gas to disperse the protesters.
“The incident also turned violent as four people also dropped dead when the protesters blocked all roads leading to Abuja, Jos and Kafanchan in protest of the killing. All the checkpoints in the area have been dismantled and the military men have been withdrawn to Kafanchan. The soldiers have told the traditional ruler that they will come back in the night to search for their guns,” another resident told our correspondent.
Spokesman of the 1 Mechanised Division, Kaduna, Col. Abdul Usman did not respond to calls and text message as at the time of filling this report.
Survivors of the clash are receiving medical attention at a State General Hospital.
[Reported By Abdulgafar Alabelewe, The Nation]