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Protesting youth burn two churches in Katsina

 The youths were protesting alleged blasphemous statements made by a corps member.

Two churches were burnt on Monday afternoon at Tudun Wada, Funtua Local Government Area on Katsina State by rampaging youths, witnesses have said.

The unrest started when some students at one Ideal School, a private secondary school in the community, reported to youth outside the school that a teacher was teaching an SS2 class lessons that were ‘blasphemous’ in Islam.

According to a witness, who simply identified himself as “Alhaji Surajo,” the angry youth took to the streets of Funtua, vandalising property and ended up attacking two churches.

Burnt St Theresa church Funtua: Photo Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu
Burnt St Theresa church Funtua: Photo Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu

“I was around Tudun Wada, near the school, when we heard youth coming to the area, saying that they wanted to burn it (the school) down,” Mr. Surajo.

Mr. Surajo, who was caught in the mayhem, said before the youth could get to the school, some security operatives had arrived to offer protection to it.

Failing to get to the school, the youth set the two churches on fire instead. One of the churches was mentioned as St. Theresa Catholic Church, also in Tudun Wada.

Another witness, a market woman, Hajia Ade, said she had to run home from her shop because the youth were attacking people and businesses indiscriminately.

“I had to run home because it was becoming too bad and serious. The youth were just shouting and stoning everybody. I saw a church being set ablaze but I don’t know the name of the church,” she said.

She said that according to a neighbour’s daughter who attended the school, the ‘blasphemous’ statements were attributed to a Youth Corps member serving at the school as a teacher.

Mrs. Ade lamented that the youth did not wait to confirm from the school authorities whether what they heard was true or false before rioting in the streets.

Efforts to speak with the school authorities were not successful as the school was surrounded by the police and military, who have taken over the town.

Movement has since been restricted and all shops closed, according to another witness, Kabir Funtua.

“We hope that the situation is over now. The security people have to be alert because some of these youths want to take advantage of this and loot people’s businesses. They had already started the looting prior to the arrival of the military.”

Efforts to reach the spokesperson of the Katsina Police Command, Aminu Abubakar, were unsuccessful as he did not pick his calls.

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