John Shiklam in Kaduna
Some angry youths in Bayan Dutse, Narayi community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State THURSday burnt down a Celestial Church and a police outpost both located in the area.
It was learnt that pandemonium broke out following the death on Wednesday of one Sylvester Friday, 21, alleged to have been sacrificed for ritual purposes by a 78-year-old pastor of the church.
Sources said Friday, a member of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Narayi, was working as a labourer for the pastor of the Celestial Church who was erecting a demarcation around the river side by his church.
The boy was said to have fell into the river and died while working with the pastor.
The pastor reportedly ran to the nearby police outpost to report the incident.
The youths however suspected that the pastor may have used the boy for sacrifice and mobilised to burn the church and an SUV belonging to a church member parked at the premises.
The police outpost was burnt down when the youths insisted that the pastor who was taken to the Barnawa Divisional Police station for protective custody must be produced.
Community leaders in the area were said to have prevailed on the youths, urging them to see the death as an act of God and should not take the laws into their hands.
But such advised was said to have been ignored by the angry mob.
Confirming the incident, Aliyu Muktar, spokesman of the Kaduna State police command, said five people were arrested in connection with the incident.
He said: â€œSome miscreants set ablaze a Celestial Church and a police outpost in Narayi. The church was completely burnt but the police outpost was not burnt completely.â€
According to him, the youths were demanding that police release the 78-year-old Pastor Shitu, who was in protective custody.
â€œThey demanded for his release so as to lynch him. But our personnel refused to hand him over to them, so they decided to take the laws into their hands.
He said the protesting youths were dispersed by the police on Wednesday but they regrouped around 4a.m. yesterday to attack the church and the outpost.
Mukhtar added that law and order had been restored in the community and normalcy had returned.
Meanwhile the state Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has ordered security agents to fish out those behind the riotous incident that led to the burning of the church and the police outpost.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, said the state government would not tolerate attacks on places of worship and public property such as the police post.
â€œIn a state that has endured four decades of violent conflict, there can be no condoning an attack on the offices of security agencies or a place of worship, an act that has often invited needless reprisals and escalation.
â€œThe government is determined to ensure vigorous prosecution of anyone indicted by the police investigation into the matter,â€ the statement.