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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Buhari condemns Zamfara ‘blasphemy’ killings, pledges justice


President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killing of at eight persons in Zamfara State on the allegation of “blasphemy”.
A mob, suspected to be students of Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, on Monday descended on a man they accused of blaspheming the Prophet of Islam. They later set those who tried to help him alight.
The attack occurred at Talata Mafara, a town in Zamfara.
Mr. Buhari described the attack as “barbaric and unacceptable”.
Writing on Twitter, the president said he “received news of the mob killings in Zamfara with great dismay”.
“I assure that the law will take its course. My prayers are with the families of the victims,” he said.
Mr. Buhari, who has been widely criticized for failing to speak out or condemn similar attacks in the past, said “Under my watch we will work to ensure that there is no place for violence in the name of religion, ethnicity, or in any guise whatsoever”

How the attack occurred
A resident of the community, Salisu Mafara, where the attack occurred, told PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday that trouble began when a student of the polytechnic was accused of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad.
“The young man was a Muslim before he converted to Christianity and fellow students always accused him of saying nasty things about Islam,” he said.
“However, he reportedly said terrible things about the prophet and the students around descended on him and he was seriously injured,” he said.
“When they noticed that he was not moving at all, they thought he is death, but one man who is from the same tribe with him now came and took him to the hospital in his car.
“When the mob got to know what happened, they now began to rush to the general hospital. However, that man just dropped the boy in the hospital and left.
“But before the mob could reach the hospital, another young man, who is an indigene of Mafara, but is the boyfriend of the accused person’s sister, reached the hospital before them and took away the injured man before the mob got there.
“When they reached the hospital and realised that the injured man was not there, they came back to town and when they saw the vehicle used in taking him to the hospital the first time, they burnt it down.
“They also went to the man’s house and burned it down with all the occupants inside. About eight people were in the house and they all died,” he said.
Mr. Mafara also said three other persons may have died when security agents opened on the crowd that had become uncontrollable.
The spokesperson of police in the state, Mohammed Shehu, told PREMIUM TIMES that a state Security Council meeting was held immediately after the incident and a dusk to dawn curfew imposed.
He also said reinforcement had been sent to the town and everywhere was calm.
A source in Talata Mafara also told us that Governor Abdulaziz Yari, who is from the community, was in the town when the incident happened.
The government is however yet to comment on the incident.
Meanwhile, authorities of the polytechnic have closed the school indefinitely.

Culled from Premium Times

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