Despite 24-hour Curfew, Three Killed in Kaduna

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• Airline temporarily suspends flights to state

John Shiklam in Kaduna

Three people were confirmed killed yesterday in Kaduna despite the 24-hour curfew imposed on the metropolis on Sunday by the state government.

This is coming as Air Peace, has temporarily suspended flight operations on its Kaduna route due to the 24-hour curfew imposed on Kaduna metropolis and its environs following reports of violent clashes.

THISDAY gathered that violence broke out in some parts of the metropolis at about 4p.m on Sunday, resulting in the burning of scores of houses and vehicles.

The state government had imposed curfew to stop the violence from escalating to other parts of the city after about 55 lives were lost.

However, in the early hours of yesterday, gunmen said to have posed as members of a vigilante group, killed three young men in Narayi area of the city.

The gunmen who were said to be driving in a Hilux Van marked “JTF”, arrived the community at about 2a.m and abducted the young men who were later killed.

The burial of the victims also took place yesterday, amidst mass protest by the youths who blocked the major road leading to the community.

It took the efforts of religious and community leaders to pacify the angry youths who accused security personnel of “not doing enough to protect” them despite the curfew.

Speaking in an interview with journalists when the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen Muhammad Mohammed, visited the area as part of his assessment tour of security situation within the metropolis, a youth leader in the area, Emmanuel Godwin, said the gunmen came when people were sleeping.

“They came at about 2a.m in a Hilux Van and claimed they were vigilante members from Barnawa. We told them that Narayi is not their jurisdiction and they have no business coming to our community since we have our own vigilante group. As they were driving away, they picked three of our boys as if they were arresting them.

“Shortly after they left with the boys they shot them and dumped the corpses by the roadside” the youth leader said.

Meanwhile, Air Peace Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah, confirmed the suspension of flights by the airline to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos.

Iwarah said the airline took the decision after the Kaduna State Government imposed the curfew due to security threats, adding that the operations would resume as soon as normalcy was restored.

He said: “If it was a half day curfew, we would have taken another approach to it but now what we heard is that the curfew is for 24 hours.

“We expect that this will not last for long, maybe a day or two and we can change our position, but for now, there is nothing we can do because we cannot risk the lives of our valued guests and crew.

“We don’t want anybody to be caught up in the clashes around that environment. We believe the government knows better,” he said.