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Appeals for calm after Nigeria sectarian slaughter

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 10:00

Jos, Nigeria: Nigerian troops were patrolling villages near the northern city of Jos Tuesday after the massacre of more than 500 Christians there that sparked international shock and outrage.
But survivors of the latest wave of inter-ethnic violence, in which women and children were hacked to death or burned alive in their homes, denounced the authorities for having failed to intervene in time.

Relatives of the dead meanwhile attended funerals Monday for the victims of the three-hour orgy of violence in three Christian villages close to the northern city of Jos.

Witnesses have blamed the massacre on members of the mainly Muslim Fulani ethnic group, and according to media reports Muslims villagers were warned two days before attack via text messages to their phones.

The security forces said they had detained 95 suspects in the violence.

"We have over 500 killed in three villages and the survivors are busy burying their dead," said state information commissioner Gregory Yenlong.

"People were attacked with axes, daggers and cutlasses -- many of them children, the aged and pregnant women."

Around 200 people were being treated in hospital, said the Information Ministry.

Much of the violence was centred around the village of Dogo Nahawa, where gangs set fire to straw-thatched mud huts as they went on their rampage.

The explosion of violence was just the latest between rival ethnic and religious groups.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has already sacked his chief security advisor. John Onaiyekan, the archbishop of the capital Abuja, told Vatican Radio that the violence was rooted not in religion but in social, economic and tribal differences.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 10:00
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