17 Mar 2010

Fresh attacks leave 11 dead in central Nigeria

At least 11 people have been killed in central Nigeria, in an attack that the Archbishop of Jos told Channel 4 News showed “similarities” to violence ten days ago in which 500 people were killed.

Woman mourning in Jos, Nigeria (credit:Reuters)

Plateau State radio reported the attack on a village 30km south of Jos took place at 1.30 this morning.

The Archbishop of Jos, Rev Benjamin Kwashi, told Channel 4 News that six women and two men were killed in the attack. The rest were children, he said.

“Villagers said it was a group of Muslim Fulani men who were armed,” the Archbishop said.

The attack follows sectarian violence in three Christian settlements near Jos on Sunday 7 March. Hundreds of people were killed by men armed with swords and machetes, in what the Archbishop then described as a “systematic and organised” attack.

“There are similarities (between the attacks),” Archbishop Kwashi said. “There were sharp-edged, merciless cuts and burning. Ten houses were burnt.”

“The police did say they had made some arrests (after the last attacks), that there were some confessions,” he said.

“It is good if a crime is punished, regardless of whether that person is Muslim, Christian or pagan. That in itself is a deterrent.

“There were sharp-edged, merciless cuts and burning. Ten houses were burnt.”
Rev Benjamin Kwashi, Archbishop of Jos

“But what would be more encouraging is if the attacks were stopped. These things are stoppable.

“What is far more encouraging for these people is if the police and security forces are acting to give them peace.”

Asked if he knew who was behind the attacks, the Archbishop said: “I wish I knew, nobody has said. Even the attacks ten days ago, nobody has said who, nobody has said why. It is the same with this one.”

Plateau State, of which Jos is the capital, lies at the crossroads of Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north and mainly Christian south.

Tensions between Christian and animist indigenous groups and Muslim settlers have triggered unrest in the region.