By Ben Agande
KADUNA– The Kaduna state commissioner of Police, Austin Iwar Tuesday said 18 people have been arrested while twelve people were confirmed dead in the three hour crisis that engulfed Kasuwan Magani town in Kajuru local government on Monday.
Addressing journalists after a fact finding and assessment visit to the area, the police commissioner vowed that no stone will be left unturned in unraveling the immediate and remote causes of the crisis.
The police commissioner who was accompanied by the General Officer commanding 1 division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Mohammed Mohammed and the state commandant of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, Modu Goni expressed shock at the scales of destruction.
“It is us fortunate. As we can see the level of destruction is very high, some people were killed and properties were destroyed. This is not what we wished for our state, Kaduna.
“Let me say that we will not leave any stone unturned in investigating the remote and the immediate causes of this problem. We will talk to the stakeholders here and try to fine out what is the problem and through Civil problem solving approach and conflict resolution, we will deal with that. We will also look at the criminal aspect of it. So far we have arrested eighteen people that we suspect were involved in the crisis. We are working round the clock to ensure that we get to the root of the matter. We have recovered a number of dangerous items, including petrol bombs. We believe this is a planned thing and we will get to the root of the matter. We will do a thorough investigation to ensure that it does not happen again” he said.
The Police boss said the police was aware of “skirmishes” in the area two weeks ago and had made some arrests “but we did not know that there was a grand design to carry out massive destruction as it happened”.
He defended the police response to the crisis saying that he mobilized his men and deployed to the area as soon as the police received reports of the crisis.
“The most important thing to us is, when was it reported to us? Traveling from Kaduna to here takes about forty minutes. We needed to prepare and mobilize our men. Police officers are not like items sitting on the shelves of supermarket. We needed to bring people from other places. We took necessary steps to check the crisis. We brought in military reinforcement, Civil Defence and Police reinforcement”.
He said eleven victims of the crisis were “buried around 12 midnight” while one person who sustained injuries later died in the hospital on Tuesday.
When Vanguard visited the area, it was deserted while over 1000 shops were torched and several vehicles were also burnt.
Crisis started on Monday when a Christian girl who was allegedly engaged to a Muslim man was about to covert to Islam, a development that angered youths that predominantly Christian settlement.
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