Nigeria riots: Victims buried; Christians threaten reprisal

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 12:25

Abuja: Corpses of the victims of communal
riots have been buried in mass graves in the northern Nigerian
city of Jos where attackers killed more than 500 people in a
weekend attack, even as Christian leaders in a Southern state
have threatened reprisal against the killers.

Machete-wielding and gun totting marauders besieged a
village close to Jos early Sunday morning and shot into the
air thereby attracting villagers mostly Christians. They shot
and killed the villagers mostly children and women when they
tried to escape their onslaught.

Nigerian police said they have arrested 19 of the
suspected attackers just as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon
has called for maximum restraint by quarrelling factions in
the city.

Jos, located 350 km northeast of Nigerian capital
Abuja, has witnessed several violence in the past leading to
loss of hundreds of lives with the latest being in January
this year when 500 people died in the communal riots.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan had issued a
statement declaring a security red alert and ordered troops
deployment to quell violence in the city.

The attackers are suspected to be Fulani ethnic
herdsmen who wanted to revenge the January killing in Jos
where Muslims were said to be the larger number of the
victims.

The city is populated by ethnic Berom who are often
referred to as indigenes and the Hausa-Fulani group seen as
settlers. Struggle for cultivable land and political power are
usually behind the killings.

Meanwhile, a South-eastern Nigeria Chapter of
Christian Association of Nigeria has threatened reprisal if
the Nigerian government fails to find solution to the attacks.

State Chairman of CAN Bishop Cletus Bassey said:
"Federal Government of Nigeria owe the citizens of this nation
an explanation of what has happened to the different
committees that were set up at different time where these
issues (crises) that had repeated themselves."

In January, a similar crisis led to the death of more
than 300 persons and thousands were displaced. The Nigerian
government is still investigating the cause of the January
crisis.

The two out break of violence occurred in the absence
of the country`s president Umaru Musa Yar`Adua who was flown
back home from Saudi Arabia where he went to receive medical
treatment.

Nobody has seen him in public since then and his
arrival was preceded by the endorsement of Goodluck as acting
president. The acting president faces a big challenge to
restore peace in a state that is divided between Northern
Muslim settlers and the Berom indigenes who perceive them as
power hungry.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 12:25

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