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Kukah suspends Masses in Sokoto, disclaims attack on residence

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THE BISHOP of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, has suspended all Masses in Sokoto State.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Director, Social Communications, of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Christopher Omotosho, on Saturday.

According to the statement, Masses would be suspended pending the lifting of a 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government to curb ongoing protests embarked upon by Muslim youths in Sokoto.

“All Masses in Sokoto metropolis have been suspended until the curfew is lifted,” it read.

Earlier, a statement by the church had noted that some churches had been attacked and properties destroyed in the course of the protest.

“During the protest, groups of youths led by some adults in the background attacked the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral at Bello Way, destroying church glass windows. Those of the Bishop Lawton Secretariat were also attacked and a community bus parked within the premises vandalised.

“St. Kevin’s Catholic Church, Gidan Dere, Eastern By-pass, was also attacked and partly burnt; windows of the new hospital complex under construction, in the same premises were shattered,” it read.

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It, however, debunked rumours that Kukah’s residence had been burnt down.

“Contrary to information in circulation, we wish to disclaim that there was an attack of any sort on the residence of Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah,” it read.

Stating that no life was lost in the attack, Kukah commended security operatives in the state for preventing further damage to the properties.

The protests had erupted following the arrest of two suspected murderers in the state.

The suspects had been part of a mob who lynched and burnt a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Deborah Samuel, for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed.

Displeased with the arrests, many youths had taken to the streets of the city on Saturday in protest.

The protesters shut down major roads in the state capital and destroyed many properties.

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The state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, had imposed a 24-hour curfew in the state as the protests degenerated into widespread violence.

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Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via vopara@icirnigeria.org

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