West & Central Africa

Muslims killed by Muslim mob in mistaken identity attacks

Muslims, mistaken for Christians were killed this week in Talata-Mafara, Zamfara State in North West Nigeria by an angry mob who torched the house of a retired lecturer of the Abdu Gusau Polytechnic. In a horrific act of dark irony the mob thought they were killing the family of the lecturer instead they were killing looters.

A student of the Polytechnic, who did not want to be named for fear of his life said, “Hakeem Subairu is an accounting student who had converted to Christianity. His Muslim room-mates were not happy with the development. An argument ensued over bathing soap on Monday morning and his room-mates who had targeted him declared that he had blasphemed Islam and Mohammed.”

Other Muslim students were mobilised and attacked Hakeem chanting, “Allahu Akbar! Kill the infidel”.

As Hakeem was being beaten to death a lecturer was alerted (we are withholding his name for security reasons) and came to the rescue of Hakeem, with the assistance of Alhaji Bello, who is a Muslim. But on their way to a hospital, Bello was alerted that a rampaging mob was coming for him and Hakeem, and both had to flee the town.

BlasphemyThe crowd of students burnt Alhaji Bello’s car and his shop. “The mob then headed for his house but by then his family was alerted and they were quickly evacuated. However Muslim youths rushed into Alhaji Bello’s house looting his property. When the main group of rampaging students arrived they thought that the looters were Bello’s family. They locked the doors and set the house ablaze. Eight people died in the fire, according to eye witnesses.

The mob then returned to the Polytechnic Campus and destroyed rooms with worship equipment belonging to seven Christian fellowship groups. Churches and chapels belonging to a number of denominations were attacked in the violence.

To stop the spreading violence, the Zamfara State Police Command in Talata-Mafara imposed a dusk to dawn curfew.

The State governor, Alhaji Abdulazeez Yari , in a statement said the government will leave no “stone unturned until all those behind the act are brought to book”

Eunice Killed in Abuja
Eunice Killed in Abuja

Nigerian President, Muhammed Buhari in a tweet condemned the attack as “barbaric.”

Earlier in June, the wife of a pastor, Bridget, was killed on similar allegations of blasphemy in Kano on June 3, while Mrs Eunice Olawale Elisha, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian church of God ( RCCG ) was killed a few days later while coming out to preach in the early mornings as is the tradition with some churches in Nigeria.