Covid-19: Katsina Boils As protesters burn police station over Jumat ban

One person was confirmed dead on Saturday when rampaging protesters went into a police station and the official quarters of a Divisional Police Officer to destroy and burnt it down in Kusada, headquarters of Kusada Local Government Area of Katsina State.

The riot was caused by the arrest of a religious group leader who allegedly led a Friday prayer in the town despite the state government’s directive banning large gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Damaged properties include seven vehicles and 10 motorcycles that were set ablaze during the riot.

However suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident as further investigation is ongoing.

The trouble started according to an eyewitnesses who said trouble started when one Mallam Hassan conducted Jumat prayer in one of the mosques in the town.

Hassan was arrested and taken into police custody at Area Commander’s office in Malumfashi for questioning. This did not go down well with his followers and decided to take action.

These worshipers on Saturday attacked policemen on duty at Kusada Police Division and burn the police station also the DPO’s Quarters.

The town was under lockdown as it was not accessible because of the unrest.

Spokesman for police in Katsina, SP Gambo Isah, confirmed the unrest, in a statement said normalcy had returned to the town while investigation had begun on the incident.

He said, “Recalled that Katsina State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Aminu Bello Masari, issued a restriction orders Nos. SEC.2/T/3 and SEC.2/T/14 dated 25th and 27th March, 2020 respectively, directing the total closure of its borders and suspension of large gatherings for the weekly Friday prayers and Sunday church services while marriage ceremonies are to be conducted in a low key across the state as part of measures taken to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“However, on Friday, March 27, 2020, some disgruntled youths under the leadership of one Mallam Hassan tested the will of the state and conducted a Friday prayer in one of the Kusada jummat mosques.

“Subsequently, he was arrested for questioning at Area Commander’s office, Malumfashi which did not go down well with some of his followers.

“Consequently, today (Saturday) around 9am, this particular group organised themselves in a tumultuous manner, attacked and overpowered the policemen on duty at Kusada Division, set ablaze the police station and the DPO’s Quarters. They also burnt down seven vehicles and 10 motorcycles in custody of the police station.”

Isah stated that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Sanusi Buba, ordered the deployment of police patrol teams and a special joint security task force on the enforcement of public gatherings in the state to the area.

“Ninety suspected rioters have been arrested while one of the rioters lost his life as a result of the encounter. Investigation is ongoing,” he added.

Meanwhile, Isah said the police in cooperation with repentant cattle rustlers have rescued an eleven-year-old girl, Maryam Ado, from suspected bandits who kidnapped her from Kunkunna-Bayan-Dutse, village in the Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State. Ado was rescued about 11am on Friday.

Isah said Ado was rescued unhurt after a gun duel between the rescue team and the suspected bandits.

He said, “On March 27, 2020, around 11am, the command in collaboration with repentant cattle rustlers led by one Sani Muheddinge rescued one Maryam Ado, aged 11, of Kunkunna-Bayan-Dutse village, from the hands of kidnappers after the exchange of gunfire.”

The command spokesman said six suspected bandits armed with AK 47 rifles, on Wednesday stormed the village during which Ado was kidnapped and abducted to Rugu forest.

It was however learnt that Ado was reunited with her family shortly after her rescue on Friday.

Isah said investigation had commenced on the matter.

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