The Kaduna State Police Command has stepped up security following attacks on the residents of the state by a new deadly group called “Yan Shara”.
The spokesperson of the command, Abubakar Zubair, stated this in an interview with newsmen on Saturday.
Yan Shara, which means “Sweepers” in Hausa Language, has carried out series of attacks on some residents of the state, using dangerous weapons like knives.
Its members, which comprise mostly young adults, now operate in major towns in Kaduna, including Tudun wada, Unguwan Rimi, Kakuri, Unguwan Dosa and Kawo.
Mr. Zubair said though the police were not aware of some of the attacks, the activities of the group had been put under control by the force.
He said, “The Kaduna police have all the information about the activities of the gang in some part of the state that include Tudun Wada and Rigasa area and have taken all the necessary steps to bring that to a stop. We never had any other report of such activities from groups like that in recent time.”
“The case of Unguwan Rimi and Unguwan Dosa are new to me now but the police will step up and find out what actually happened. The police are not taking it lightly with such activities of hoodlums in the state anymore.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai had recently assured residents of the state of his administration’s resolve to ensure that the activities of the group were not only curtailed but also totally eradicated.
The governor, who spoke when he visited a victim of the group, Emmanuel Francis, at St. Gerard Hospital Kaduna, warned the people of the state not to impose the tenets of their religions on others.
“We implore everyone to do their duty to uphold peace and security in Kaduna State.
We should not allow differences in faith to be a barrier to harmony or a cause for conflict. Nobody can impose the tenet of his faith on another person,” Mr. El-Rufai said.
“The decision to observe any religious activity is the prerogative of the individual. Let us all remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the security agencies.”
Mr. Francis, a Christian, was attacked last week by suspected members of the group for eating during Ramadan.
A resident of Kakuri, Bala Awwal, has narrated how Mr. Francis was attacked by the group.
Mr. Awwal recounted that the victim was attacked in Kakuri area last Tuesday by members of the group while he was having lunch.
He said the members of the groups protested that he was eating at the time Muslims were observing their fast.
“They even stabbed the man,” he explained lamentably, adding that it was the prompt intervention of the police that saved him from death.
Mr. Awwal said the police had made some arrests in the area.
Also speaking, on Mal Mustapha, said many of the members of the Yan Shara were residents of the same areas where the activities had taken place.
“As a community leader, we keep telling people in the Mosque and gathering to be cautious of these boys,” Mr. Mustapha said.
“Nobody knows what their motives are or what they intend to achieve with such activities. We are calling on the Kaduna state Police and the government to in a matter of urgency hasten taking action on this group’s activities in the state.”
A resident of Unguwan Dosa, Bello Sani, said he narrowly escaped being lynched last week when the group attacked him on his way from the mosque where he had gone to pray.
He said, “It happened after the last prayer of the day, Isha’a at Unguwan Dosa. I was going home from the mosque in Unguwan Dosa when I saw people running and coming my way.
“At first I thought it was a riot. Then one lady who was running overtook me and was shouting run! run! run! the sweepers are coming. I did not understand what she meant by sweepers until I saw some shops close to me closing down and also telling me to run.
“However, before I could run fast, one among them hit me with a big stick on my back. I was able to jump in to a house close to me forcing them to retreat.”
Describing the experience as “horrific,” Mr. Bello said he was very scared because he did not know about the group until last month a friend who lives in Tudun-Wada told hold him about it.