Taraba: 8 Die, 40 Injured in Wukari Religious Riot
From Mathew Onah in Yola, 07.14.2010
At least eight persons have been confirmed dead and over 40 others lying critically ill in various hospitals in Wukari, Taraba State, following a religious riot which broke out in the early hours of yesterday.
The riot led to the disruption of traffic along the busy Jalingo-Katsina Ala road linking the South-eastern part of the country with the North-east.
The crisis was said to have been ignited as a result of the siting of a mosque at the divisional police headquarters located in the local government council area headquarters complex.
Piqued by the development, some Christian youths , according to the police commissioner, Aliyu Musa, who confirmed the story to journalists, embarked on the demolition of the mosque and this led to a reprisal action by other moslems, leading to massive destruction of lives and properties.
Eye witness told THISDAY that the entire streets of Wukari have been deserted as a result of the violence and the people have began to seek refuge in the neighbouring towns and villages.
“As I am talking to you now, the town is on fire. All schools and shops have been closed and most of our people have begun to move out of the town for safety, ” THISDAY was told.
About five mosques and three churches, as at the time of filing in this report, were said to have been set ablaze by the youths, believed to be armed to the teeth, chanting war songs.
Fears are being expressed over the safety of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members presently camping in Wukari Local Government Council of the state for the three weeks orientation .
Meanwhile, the Taraba State Police Command, has mobilised about three trucks of mobile policemen fully armed to the trouble zone which is about 220 kilometers from the state capital
Confirming the development, the State Police Commissioner said “as you have just seen, about a unit of mobile and general duty policemen are now on their way to Wukari.
“I am sending these mobile men there to increase the strength of the ones on ground so as to bring the situation under control.”