Calm returns to Sapele

Emma Amaize
& Godwin Oghre

09 January 2012, Sweetcrude, SAPELE – RELATIVE calm has returned to Sapele in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State after Friday’s attack on Muslims by some youths, who the police described as troublemakers.

Investigations showed that normal social life has resumed, but because of the fear of further attack, Muslims were relocating from Sapele and other parts of the state back to the north.

There was, nevertheless, an unconfirmed report that a group of Muslims were attacked by some persons at Ekakprame community, opposite Delta Glass Company, Ughelli, at the weekend, with two of the Muslims sustaining injury.

A Muslim leader, Sadiq Oniyesaneyene Musa confirmed when contacted, weekend, that relative peace had returned to Sapele. He, however, pleaded that the government should step in to stop the mass exodus of Muslims from the area due to fear of attack.

Contrary to reports that 50 persons were injured, he said six persons were injured and the attackers asked the Muslims to leave Sapele. Musa also corroborated the report that two Muslims were injured at Ekakparame, while fear of attack was rife at Agbarho-Otor.

Musa, who is of the Itsekiri ethnic extraction wondered where those who ordered Muslims to leave Sapele and other towns want him to go to.

It was, however, gathered that Delta state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan had directed the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Mamman Tsafe, to ensure the welfare and security of all citizens in the state, be they Muslims or otherwise.

A top official of the state government said the situation in the state was not that of war against Muslims in Sapele as has been painted by the media, adding, “It is an act carried out by armed robbers”.

The Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mamman Tsafe, was said to have visited fleeing Muslims at motor parks in Asaba and Sapele to assure that the state was safe for them to remain, as the government did not ask them to leave the state.

Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Ovuozourie Macaulay disclosed that it was Sapele youths that organized to chase away the miscreants that attacked Muslims in Sapele, pointing out that the State Government had not asked any Muslim to leave the state and had put measures in place to guarantee their safety.

Speaking on the weekend incident, Delta state police spokesman, Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, Charles Muka said the offensive on Muslims was the handiwork of miscreants, whose motive was to use the Boko-Haram rampage in the north to cause confusion and rob people.

He said the hoodlums succeeded in looting the property of some of those they attacked, but the police waded in with other security agents to take care of the situation.

“There is no cause for alarm, it is a minor incident and we have taken care of it. It is not that Christians are carrying out reprisal attack on Muslims in Sapele. No, that is not the case, it is just some few hoodlums and we have arrested two of them, they are in custody in Sapele Police Station,” he said.

Muka said there was a robbery incident in Sapele, weekend, during which a northern security guard was killed by armed robbers, adding that apart from this incident, “Every other thing is calm in Sapele”.

It was also discovered that the two armored tankers, which were deployed to the scene of Friday’s offensive had been removed Saturday afternoon, but some policemen were still patrolling the area.

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