Many have died in Northen Nigeria following a crack down by police of a Muslim sect on Monday. The group known as Kala Kato has grown agressive in the shadows of Boko Haram- an extremist group that arose in the country in June, demanding Sharia law across Nigeria and a turn away from western and democratic ideals.
According to eyewitnesses, over 37 people may have been killed in the altercation that ensued on Sunday and Monday, between the Nigerian police forces and the members of the Kala koto Muslim sect.
Locals in the Bauchi state of Nigeria where the sect originated had complained of the open-air preaching of the Kala Koto group and how they incited violence in their sermons.
A Bauchi resident was quoted by AFP news as saying: “Members of the group had a fiery preaching session yesterday night during which they attacked government and Western education.” The group was described as a non-conformist Muslim sect made up of traders, laborers and other working people.
As the mood of their preaching became aggressive, locals alerted the police because public incitation of violence and aggression was banned in the state of Bauchi after the terror created by Boko Haram in June.
The shooting between the police force and the Muslim group began on Sunday. The police forces retreated, and returned in great number. Bauchi State police chief Atikur Kafur said: “All in all, 38 people were killed including a soldier and two innocent neighbours. Among those killed is the leader of the sect,” identifying him simply as Malam Badamasi. “We made 20 arrests, including nine adults and 11 juveniles, while 14 were injured,” he told journalists.
Members of the Kala Koto group armed themselves with machetes to do battle with the armed police and soldiers. Some reports have said that a Special Anti-Robbery Squad has been deployed to restore civility.
According to reports, Kala-Kato, has existed in several parts of northern Nigeria for many decades. A religious uprising triggered by its members in 1980 in the northern city of Kano and in Yola in 1992, claimed thousands of lives.