Curfew Imposed on Pandogari, Niger after Religious Violence

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The killing of Mr Methodus Chimaije Emmanuel, a 24-year-old trader based in Pandogari, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State on Sunday evening by a mob in the town over allegation of posting a blasphemous statement about Prophet Muhammad on the social media has shut down the town.

The incident led troops of 31 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army on operation MESA to quickly intervene and restored law and order while a dusk to down curfew was imposed in the town.

However, monday the rioters embarked on further violence, looting of shops and blocking the Lagos-Kaduna Road, a major artery connecting the northern and southern parts of the country.

Again, troops in conjunction with the personnel of the 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.
One church, house and a shop were burnt while 25 other shops were looted following the violence.
Three other persons including a personnel of the NSCDC also lost their lives.

Some arrests were made in connection with the violence and the suspects handed over to the the police.
The military and other security agencies are currently embarking on confidence building patrols in all nooks and crannies of the town.

As part of the measures to de-escalate tensions and ensure a lasting peace in the town, the military said it is working with the local government council authorities and community leaders, including the Kagara Emirate Council to pacify all aggrieved parties and build on the peace so far established.

It said it would continue with its current non-violent approach to maintaining peace in Pandogari town and would not take kindly to any unscrupulous element who would attempt to visit violence on innocent and law abiding persons.