Residents of Kasuwa Magani village in Kaduna State have been counting their losses, following an outbreak of violence in the area in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.
The number of those killed in the crisis rose from seven to 12 while at least 1,000 houses – including shops and residential buildings as well as several vehicles were destroyed in the violence which occurred on Monday.
The crisis, which has rendered many residents homeless, has now turned the once busy and commercial community into a ghost town.
One of the victims Mustapha Abubakar said everything he has worked for in his entire life was wiped out during the clash.
“They burned my house, burned my car, and later went to my shop and burned it down. I have at least 110 bags of maize and they were all burned.
“They also killed my brother and I don’t know what he did to them,” he lamented.
Reacting to the crisis, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Austin Iwar, told reporters that they have arrested 18 people in connection with the crime while other suspects are on the trail.
He said, “We don’t envisage that this kind of thing would have taken place here. Unfortunately, as you can see, the level of destruction is very high here.
“Some people were killed and properties were destroyed; this is not what we wish for our good state – Kaduna State.”
Kasuwa Magani, a densely populated town is mainly dominated by Christians and Muslims, most of whom were born and brought up there.
Although, the community witnessed its first ethnic-religious conflict in the 1980s, which claimed several lives and property, the lessons and experience from that conflict have remained a sad tale for both sides who still view each other with utmost suspicion since then.
However, Monday’s incident a fallout of a reported clash between some youths of two religious groups over some girls who wanted to change their religion but were scolded by some youths in the community.
On Tuesday, the heads of security agencies in the state visited the community for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.
They also met with the community leaders and appealed to the residents in the area to remain law-abiding and embrace peace.
Research revealed that the conflict in Kasuwa Magani and other communities in the state always start with a minor dispute between two people and in most cases, from different ethnic or religious background.
Residents are worried that some of these avoidable disputes are never resolved by either community leaders or even law enforcement agencies until they escalate to full group conflict.
They have, however, called on the security agencies to find a lasting solution to the crises for the unity and development of the state.
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