BY Ibanga Isine, Managing Editor of NEXT EDITION newspaper
The Dean of the Catholic Deanery of Rimau, Kaduna State, Joseph Kwasau, Friday spoke up for the first time after unknown gunmen invaded his house on Tuesday and killed his private security guard.
The priest, who spoke exclusively to The NEXT EDITION said his parish house is located a few metres from a major police checkpoint in Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru Local Government Area.
But when over 20 heavily armed men stormed the church premises and started shooting sporadically, the police at the checkpoint ignored calls for help by his parishioners and neighbours.
The Catholic priest is speaking up just as his counterparts in Enugu in Nigeria’s South-west are protesting the killing a priest by yet to be identified gunmen.
“My parish house is located a few metres from a police checkpoint and one would have expected them to repel the attackers.
“I was shocked the police did nothing while the gunmen invaded the house, killed my security guard and started breaking down the doors to get to me.
“People in the neighbourhood made several distress calls to them but they did not respond until the attackers left.
“I am thankful to God for sparing my life today. I knew I was going to be attacked but God did not allow them to get to me. Unfortunately, they killed the security guard attached to my house,” Father Kwasau said.
Heavily-armed men who were said to have arrived shortly after midnight on Wednesday shot sporadically to scare away people from St. Luke Catholic Church, Kasuwan Magani.
Witnesses said the gunmen were conveyed to the parish house in a Peugeot J5 bus.
When it was obvious security operatives would not respond to their distress calls as the gunmen struggled to break into the fortified main door to the priest’s home, youth of the area mobilized to repel the attackers.
As the youth in their numbers approached the scene of the attack chanting war songs, the gunmen fired several shots before fleeing the area.
A witness said it was after the youth had chased the attackers away that some naval ratings from Kachia arrived the scene of the incident.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security, Samuel Aruwan is said to have contacted Fr. Kwasau after the incident.
However, calls and text message by our correspondent to the commissioner were not returned at the time of filing this report.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Kaduna State, Yakubu Sabo, did not also respond to enquiries made to him.