Dozens dead after security forces battle Islamic sect

Fighting between Islamic militants and security forces in northern Nigeria left at least 38 people dead as sect members armed with spears, knives, assault rifles and arrows ransacked a neighbourhood and set homes ablaze, police officials said.

Mohammed Barau, a police spokesman for Bauchi state, said members of the Kata Kalo sect began fighting among themselves on Monday night and accusing each other of causing their leader to fall seriously ill.

He corrected earlier official statements that the arrest of the sect leader prompted the clash.

The fighting spread into the streets of a poor neighbourhood near the city of Bauchi and military forces attempted to stop the violence, Mr Barau said. Officials said the militants were armed with spears and arrows.

The militants’ fierce attack sent the military unit into a retreat, Mr Barau said. At least one soldier and a state security officer died in the initial clash early on Monday morning, officials said, as well as two bystanders.

Mr Barau said military and police units returned to the area in force later, but “before police got there, they had already killed themselves”. However, extrajudicial killings are common in Nigeria and an Amnesty International report released in November claimed police kill hundreds each year.

Officials said they arrested 20 people after the fighting. Among those arrested, officials said they found two Kalashnikov assault rifles, bomb-making materials, 73 knives, gunpowder and ammunition.

Mr Barau said the area was under control.

“The situation has normalised. Everyone has gone about his normal business,” he said.

Nigeria, a country of about 150 million people, is almost split between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south. Religious violence is sometimes sparked by local disputes and politics, rather than international influences.

In July, fighting in Bauchi sparked by another Islamic sect’s attack on a police station began a wave of violence across northern Nigeria that left more than 700 dead.

More in this Section

France records 1,000 more Covid-19 deaths bringing death toll to 6,500France records 1,000 more Covid-19 deaths bringing death toll to 6,500

Member of British armed forces becomes first confirmed coronavirus case on FalklandsMember of British armed forces becomes first confirmed coronavirus case on Falklands

Keir Starmer elected as the next leader of the UK Labour PartyKeir Starmer elected as the next leader of the UK Labour Party

Competition for supplies sharpening as pandemic worsensCompetition for supplies sharpening as pandemic worsens


Lifestyle

This year has been particularly difficult and stressful, and I think that’s an even more important reason to make time for your health.Derval O'Rourke: Resistance is far from futile and necessary

Best-selling author Faith Hogan is keeping the faith during the lockdown, thanks to her Moy Valley haven in Ballina, Co Mayo.Shape I'm in: Keeping the Faith during lockdown

Are you and your family venturing into the room outside? Peter Dowdall has some useful advice.Now that the world’s on gardening leave, are you venturing into the room outside?

The virus crisis doesn’t have to dampen our enthusiasm for Easter treats, writes Roz CrowleyWe've got it cracked: Top 8 Easter eggs

More From The Irish Examiner