|"People walk past the wreckage of a truck destroyed in an explosion in the city of Jos." (Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters)|
Reuters dispatch in The Guardian, December 26, 2010
"Clashes broke out between armed Christian and Muslim groups near the central Nigerian city of Jos yesterday after Christmas Eve bombings in the region killed more than 30 people. Witnesses said buildings were set ablaze and people forced to run for cover as the police and military struggled to disperse crowds. 'Houses are on fire all over the place and I can see injured people covered in blood being dragged by friends and family towards the hospital,' a witness said. The unrest was triggered by explosions on Friday in villages near Jos, capital of Plateau state, that killed at least 32 people and left 74 critically injured. The tensions are rooted in decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands and for economic and political power with mostly Muslim migrants and settlers from the north. In the north of the country, dozens of armed men attacked a church on Christmas Eve, dragging the pastor out of his home and shooting him dead along with two young choristers rehearsing for a late-night carol service. The group of about 30 attackers armed with guns and knives also killed two people who were passing by the Victory Baptist church in Maiduguri. The assailants left after torching the church and pastor's house. At the other end of the city, Reverend Haskanda Jessu of the Church of Christ in Nigeria said three men attacked his church, killing a 60-year-old security guard. Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, expressed sympathy with the victims and said the government would bring the perpetrators to justice. 'I assure Nigerians that the government will go to the root of this. We must unearth what caused it and those behind it must be brought to book.' The explosions were the first major attack in Jos since the state government lifted a curfew in May."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]