Following the arrest of a religious group leader, who led a Jumat prayer on Friday despite Katsina State government’s directives banning large gatherings, a group of protesters stormed a police station and set it ablaze.

The official quarters of a Divisional Police Officer in Kusada Local Government Area of Katsina State was also burnt down.

During the riot on Saturday, March 29, 2020, one person was killed while seven vehicles and 10 motorcycles were also set on fire.

According to Punch, 90 suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.

An eyewitness, who spoke to the newspaper said the conflict started when one Mallam Hassan, was arrested by the police for conducting a Jumat prayer on Friday, March 27, 2020.

Katsina State Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba. (Punch)
Katsina State Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba. (Punch)

Following his arrest, his followers reportedly attacked the police station, torched the DPO’s Quarters and also burnt some motorcycles in the station’s premises.

Confirming the incident, the spokesman for the police in Katsina, SP Gambo Isah said the protesters organised themselves in a tumultuous manner, attacked and overpowered the policemen on duty.

He said, “Recalled that Katsina State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Aminu Bello Masari, issued a restriction orders Nos. SEC.2/T/3 and SEC.2/T/14 dated 25th and 27th March 2020 respectively, directing the total closure of its borders and suspension of large gatherings for the weekly Friday prayers and Sunday church services while marriage ceremonies are to be conducted in a low key across the state as part of measures taken to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“However, on Friday, March 27, 2020, some disgruntled youths under the leadership of one Mallam Hassan tested the will of the state and conducted a Friday prayer in one of the Kusada Jummat mosques.

“Subsequently, he was arrested for questioning at Area Commander’s office, Malumfashi which did not go down well with some of his followers.

“Consequently, today (Saturday) around 9 am, this particular group organised themselves in a tumultuous manner, attacked and overpowered the policemen on duty at Kusada Division, set ablaze the police station and the DPO’s Quarters. They also burnt down seven vehicles and 10 motorcycles in the custody of the police station.”

He further disclosed that 90 suspects have been arrested, adding that investigation is ongoing.