Muslims Burn Down Nine Churches in Kaduna State of Nigeria.
03 Apr 2004
Nigeria. April 6. BF Report. Muslims in Makarfi town, Kaduna State, have burnt down nine churches and a police station, citing a young Christian's desecration of the Qur'an as the excuse.
A prominent Nigerian Christian leader, the Archbishop of Kaduna Province, the Most Rev Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon has informed Barnabas Fund of a recent bout of blatant anti-Christian violence in Northern Nigeria. On Saturday evening 3 April, a young Christian fled for his life across the town of Makarfi to the police station, where he took refuge from an angry mob of Muslims. The mob issued a demand for his release, presumably so they could kill him, but the police refused. They therefore set fire to the police station and went on to torch nine churches (of at least three different denominations) and two houses of pastors. Shops were also looted as they rampaged throughout the area. Despite the violence there were no deaths. Many Christians fled to other police stations for protection, but police are now reported to have returned the region to a level of calm.
The mob had cited as a reason for their fury, the allegation that the fleeing young Christian had desecrated a page of the Qur'an. However Makarfi town is where Governor Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi of Kaduna State lives. Violence of this degree in his hometown will be acutely embarrassing for the Governor and according to analysis by Archbishop Josiah Fearon it is likely that elements of the Muslim community opposed to the Governor were responsible for Saturday's unrest. The Christian Association of Nigeria has said that those behind the attacks were not local.