Sunday, April 04, 2010


Armed with Guns and Machetes, They Were Chanting Kill! Kill! Kill!
By Peter Oborne
Mail Online, April 2, 2010
"[...] Today, Jos, the capital of Plateau State, is the epicentre of Nigerian sectarian violence. Nigeria's population of around 170 million people is more or less evenly divided between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north. It is the deadly misfortune of Jos to find itself on the demarcation line. Well over 1,000 people have been killed just this year, and there is no prospect at all of the carnage abating. Director and cameraman Andy Wells and I arrived in the town -- advertised in publicity brochures as the 'home of peace and tourism' -- just after hundreds had been slaughtered during three days of lawless horror. We found burnt-out and destroyed homes, cars and shops everywhere. Troops patrolled the streets and there was a strict curfew from 6pm. Graffiti warned of future terror: 'We are coming back very soon', 'Get ready 4 a return match', 'We are waiting for you in Jesus' name', which was answered by: 'We shall see - Inshallah.'
Though open violence had abated, we were told of many 'silent killings', with Christians assassinated if they strayed into Muslim areas and vice-versa. Strangers came forward to show us video footage and photographs taken during what everyone called 'the crisis'. They were indescribably upsetting: naked, castrated males, the blackened and charred body of a two-day-old child and endless skulls hacked open by machetes. A film of Nigerian soldiers hauling a defenceless man out of from the back of a van, kicking him and shooting him dead, is being widely circulated. At the Plateau State Specialist Hospital, Dr. Golwa Philimon, a surgeon, told us how he hardly slept for three days as he struggled to cope with the casualties. He saved lives to the sound of the machine-gun fire just outside the hospital and with the smell of burning houses in his nostrils. [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Jo Jones for bringing this source to my attention.]