Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jos, Nigeria: Hundreds of killings sparked by a rumour that Muslim ANPP lost election to Christian PDP? (Update 1)

UPDATE WED 17 DECEMBER 2008 - Here below is a copy of two interesting comments received in response to the Telegraph's article below, posted here at Niger Watch on 29 November 2008.
At least 200 people have been killed in fierce clashes between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. Nov 29, 2008 Daily Telegraph report:


Estimates of the dead in three days of sectarian fighting sparked by a disputed local election in the central city of Jos range from at least 200 to 400.

A senior Nigerian Red Cross official who asked not to be named said that 218 bodies were lying in the main mosque in Jos awaiting burial.

However, Khaled Abubakar, the imam of the central mosque, said: "So far about 400 bodies have been brought to the mosque following the outbreak of violence.

"Families are coming to identify and claim the bodies, while those that can not be identified or nobody claims them will be interred by the mosque."

Yakumu Pam, a Christian pastor, said: "Hundreds of people have been killed in the last two days since the riots started.

Remains of burned bodies litter some parts of the town. It is so terrible."

Thousands more people are reported to have fled their homes, while the governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, has placed four districts of Jos under a curfew and ordered police to fire on anyone who broke it following the worst of the clashes on Friday.

There was no official confirmation of the death toll.

Local residents said several churches and mosques were razed in the violence, which started with a rumour that the All
Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) had lost the local election to the federal ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP).

The ANPP is perceived in Jos to be a predominantly Muslim party, and the PDP to be mainly Christian.

Such outbreaks of violence are not uncommon in Nigeria. Jos was also the scene of a week of violence between Christians and Muslims in September 2001 that also left hundreds dead.
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Copy of two comments received here at Niger Watch in response to the Telegraph's article above.

On Monday, December 01, 2008
Anonymous said...
I am in London here who read a page of your recent posting on the recent religious riot in Jos.

As I am writing these statemnets to you. Two of my immediate family members houses have been burnt down into ashes by the muslims at the location of Nassarrawa Gwom. All narrowly escaped death.

Many churches have been burnt down at diffrent locations of Jos. One well Young coming up Evangelist by name Timothy Adetona was burnt alive. My immediate source expresses traumatic facts that Churches burnt down are in proportion of 7:1 to the mosques that were claimed burnt down by the muslims.

Right now the Christian death tolls has risen above 760 including pregnat women and children who could not escape in time before these Christian homes were set on fire. The muslims unaccounted for as there unconfirmed fact and truth about their reports.

This is a pure pre-meditated and organise killings by the Muslims in the wake of what suppose to be just a fair Chairmanship election in the Jos Plateau state.

God have mercy upon the land of Nigeria and particularly upon the bereaved families in Jos at this traumatic moment for all concerned.

BJ, Hounslow.
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On Monday, December 01, 2008
If I may add a quick point of clarification - the PDP is not a 'Christian' party. Just as the ANPP is not a 'Muslim' party.

Nigeria's President, Umar Musa Yar'Adua, is a Muslim and he is a member of the PDP. Both parties have members of different faiths and tribes. The situation in Jos started as a political fight that soon escalated to unnecessary sectarian violence.

I hope this clarifies things. There is no need for further confusion or statements that could only fan the flames of religious an d ethnic tension between Nigeria's Muslims and Christians. Unfortunately, your post title could be problematic.

Thanks for sharing this post and that you for taking the time to write about Jonathan Elendu. We are all hoping he will be freed to return to his family in the US.

Take care.
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P.S. Niger Watch reply to both comments: Thanks for your interesting comments. Sorry for the delay in responding. I have only just realised that Blogger's notification of comments via email is not working so I wasn't aware of your comments until today. I'd be interested to learn more and will keep my eye out for further news to share here. Best wishes, Ingrid.