Two weeks to the end of the year 2007, the ubiquitous Islamic “hoodlums” in Nigeria, have struck again, this time in Bauchi killing ten persons and setting ablaze dozens of homes, and at least three Churches.
According to an eye-witness account related to Compass Direct News, the problem started at the Government Day Secondary School (also known as Baba Tanko Secondary School) Kagadama, in the Yelwa Tudu area. Muslim students at the 3,655-student school had noticed on Monday December 2, that 2 blocks had been removed from the foundation of the school Mosque which they had started building the previous day. Two days later, after the issue had appeared to have been resolved, hell was suddenly let loose as, according to the eye-witness, Muslim students started to spontaneously troop out from the classes in the middle of on-going end-of-term examinations. They converged at the site of the school mosque and “began chanting Allahu Akbar.” Thereafter, they returned to the classes and from destroying chairs and desks, moved on to attacking “their Christian colleagues with knives and daggers.”
The Rev. Ishaya Danyaya, pastor in charge of ECWA-3 Church in Yelwa, took up the account of the story as the riot snowballed into town. According to the 57 year old minister, as soon as the rioting began, Islamic and Christian leaders, along with security agents, met at the house of the Muslim village head of Yelwa, Sarkin Yelwa, to discuss how to prevent the riots from spreading further.
“We met and resolved that we should not allow this incident spread to us,” he said. “We were told to nominate six members to serve in a security committee, and Muslims too were asked to do so. Four policemen were also appointed into this committee, and they were all mandated to keep watch over our area.”However, the arrangement was a sham, as Muslims in the Yelwa area began attacking Christians. According to Rev. Danyaya, right in front “of the house of the Yelwa, the Muslim village head, Muslims cut the head of a female Christian student with a machete and injured the leg of a pastor.” “It was in the presence of Sarkin Yelwa that the Assemblies of God Church here had fire set on it,” he added. Two other Churches, belonging to the Redeemed Christian Church of God and the Elim
Church, were similarly set ablaze. Most of the houses burnt belonged to Pastors. One of them, Umaru Sule of ECWA3 in Yelwa, barely managed to escape with his life, but he lost every other possession he had to the fire. Speaking to Compass, Sule said: “Not even a Bible now do I have,”
Official figures claim only one life was lost – that of a Christian security agent with the State Security Service. Identified by eyewitnesses only by his surname, Bogoro, he is a member of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, in Yelwa. Eyewitnesses however told Compass they saw nine other corpses thrown and buried together in a common grave on the morning of Friday 14th December.
Even when the targets have been clearly Christians, the governor of the State, Isa Yuguda, insists that the riot had nothing to do with religion. According to the governor and his officials, the disturbance was only an attempt by political adversaries to discredit his All Nigeria Peoples’ Party administration. It might be true of course that the fire of this riot was kindled by politicians to achieve their own ends [who removed those 2 blocks?], but no one can deny that the perpetrators of the murders and maiming and wanton destruction have been Muslims; that the targets have been Christians, with clear identities; and sad to note, that most of the killings and destructions were witnessed by Moslem elders, including even the village head! Meanwhile nothing has been heard again from either the NIREC or the FG government about the last massacre of Christians in Kano (see last edition of CA!)
This report is compiled from reports from the Compass News Direct, ThisDay 12/12/07; Daily Champion 12/12/07,and Daily Trust. For details check http://www.compassdirect.org/en/display.php?page=news&length=long&lang=en&idelement=5157