Four persons, including personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, have been killed in the outbreak of religious violence in Padongari, a town in Rafi local government area of Niger state.
According to Njideka Agwu, spokeswoman of 31 artillery brigade of the Nigeria army, Minna, a mob killed one Methodus Emmanuel, a 24-year-old trader based in Padongari, on Sunday, over allegations of blasphemy.
Agwu said a combined team of security personnel had brought under control, saying peace had been restored in the area.
“Three other persons, including personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps also lost their lives,” she told journalists.
“Troops of the 31 artillery brigade of one division, Nigeria army, quickly intervened and restored law and order while a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed in the town.”
Agwu also said a religious house, a house and a shop were burnt while 25 other shops were looted following the violence.
She said the hoodlums embarked on further violence on Monday morning, looting shops and blocking the Lagos – Kaduna road, a major highway connecting the northern and southern parts of the country.
The spokeswoman said the army had made some arrests in connection with the incident, adding that the suspects had been handed over to the police.
“The army and other security agencies have commenced confidence building patrols in all the nooks and crannies of the area toward restoring peace,” she said.
“As part of measures to de-escalate tension and ensure lasting peace in the town, the military is working with the local government council authorities and community leaders, including the Kagara Emirate Council, to pacify all aggrieved parties and build on the peace so far established.”
Agwu said the army would continue with its non-violent approach to maintaining peace in the area, threatening that troops would not hesitate to deal with any person attempting to promote violence.