At least 55 persons have been killed during a communal clash at a market in Kasuwa Magani village in Kaduna State.
The state governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, confirmed the figure to reporters on Friday when he visited the scene of the incident.
“Many people have been killed. According to what the police have briefed me so far, 55 corpses have been recovered; some burned beyond recognition,” said the governor who condemned the clash in strong terms.
He added, “Many of the victims are just visitors from outside to the market here in Kasuwa Magani and this will not continue.”
The clash, which left several others injured, broke out on Thursday after some youths attacked the market in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.
The incident was said to have snowballed into a crisis between two youth groups of different religion.
“It cannot continue, we are going to deal decisively with anyone involved in this,” Governor El-Rufai stated.
He disclosed that the state government has imposed a curfew in the area, while the security agencies were already making efforts to restore calm in the village.
The governor added that he had instructed relevant authorities to ensure that the culprits were arrested and brought to justice.
“This country belongs to all of us; this state belongs to all of us. No one is going to chase anyone away. So, you must learn to live with everyone in peace and justice,” he stated.
“What is happening here is totally unacceptable and I have charged the security agencies and the authorities here – local and traditional to ensure that everyone connected with this, whether as a participant, instigator, or even watching while it is going on, is apprehended and prosecuted.”
Governor El-Rufai was accompanied to the community by top government officials, traditional leaders and heads of security agencies in the state.
He assured the residents that the government would act in the interest of peace and harmony by prosecuting those responsible for the violence.
Kasuwan Magani, a community that is about 31 kilometres away from the state capital, had over the years been in the news for similar incidents.
In February 2018, several shops, vehicles and other valuables were destroyed during a clash between youths of different religions.