An exercise that was meant to be a form of celebration has led to the death of six persons in Illela-Kalmalo village of Illela Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

The six men died in a landslide that occurred while they were excavating sand as part of communal effort to build a house for a friend planning to get married.

A witness, Malam Hamza Illela, said that one person escaped unhurt when the site caved in on the victims.

Names of the deceased were given as Bashar Dalhatu, Bashar Maciji, Bashar Buhari, Isah Amadu, Abdullahi Salihu and Bilyaminu Jadi.

Sources in the village said the deceased had been buried according to Islamic rites.

‘‘It is part of our tradition that whoever wants to do first marriage, his friends will gather, excavate soil for him to build his house, beside other assistance.

‘‘It is to reduce the burden on him and enhance existing solidarity in the community.

‘‘Unfortunately, while they were excavating the soil, the place collapsed on them; we later recovered their bodies and gave them befitting burial in accordance with Islamic rites,’’ one of the villagers who preferred anonymity said.

The source said although the people were in a state of shock, they were grateful to God because they died as martyrs.

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