Tragic Xmas in Abuja, 10 killed, churches, houses razed as Gwari, Fulani clash
Christmas turned bloody yesterday for residents of Bwari Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In the incident, 10 persons were reportedly killed, churches and houses razed in the clash between Gwari and Hausa/Fulani, which started at about nine o’clock in the morning.
Residents told Daily Sun that the crisis began when Christians were attending the Christmas service, and were attacked by Fulani leading to the burning down of the ECWA Church in the area.
It was gathered that the crisis between the Fulani and the Gwari who are the indigenes of the area had been lingering for sometime and that the Fulani who had allegedly been planning to carry out the attack, decided to do so on Christmas Day.
But eyewitness accounts insisted that the clash was over an alleged murder of a native Gwari.
According to multiple eyewitnesses, the fight erupted following the appointment of a new traditional ruler by the Gwari.
The Hausa youths, it was gathered, were said to be unhappy over the choice of the new traditional ruler and his designation as an emir.
An earlier face-off on Sunday night reportedly left a Gwari native dead.
Angered by the alleged murder, armed youths in the area mobilised and launched a counter attack on Hausa/Fulani community.
During the counter attack, it was gathered that houses and small shops belonging to Hausa/Fulani settlers were set ablaze.
Residents who could not take cover as at when the attack was launched, reportedly sustained different degrees of injuries.
One of the eyewitnesses said the settlers also launched their own attack on the major shopping plaza, opposite the headquarters of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
The plaza, beside a new generation bank, was set ablaze by the angry Hausa mob.
Some shops in Bwari major market, belonging to natives, were also set ablaze by the irate Hausa youths.
According to eyewitnesses, while the attacks lasted, security agents were reportedly not within the area. As at the time of filing in this report, security agents had already taken control of the area.
Major streets and roads had been condoned off and also deserted. But when contacted, media aide to FCT Minister, Mr. Abubakar Sani, told Daily Sun that a clash between two cult groups led to the fracas.
He dismissed claims that the appointment of a native as a traditional ruler led to the face-off.
He revealed that the minister, Muhammad Bello, had already summoned an emergency security meeting with heads of security agencies in Abuja.
He said the minister was also expected to visit the area to assess the level of damage.
It was unclear if a curfew would be declared to forestall another breakdown of law and order.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army deployed soldiers from the Guards Brigade to restore law and order while motorists using the route to Kaduna, Plateau and other states were advised to take alternative routes for their safety.