Friday, March 26, 2010


Residents of Nigerian Village Live in Fear of Renewed Massacres
By Jonathan Clayton
The Times, March 26, 2010
"[...] Home to about 2,000 people, the village bears the scars of the attack. Many of the houses are burnt, the tin roofs caved in over charred beams. The carbonised wrecks of cars and motorbikes litter the dusty lanes where hens and goats scavenge in the dirt. In many places the sandy earth is stained dark by human blood. The trunks of the largest trees are covered black with charcoal. They were set ablaze with the husks of harvested corn to force children and adults hiding in the branches to fall to their deaths. People have returned but no one is working. Instead, they sit around in small groups comparing notes on the attack and the latest rumours. At least 100 Muslim families who lived among the Christians left before the attack. They have yet to return. 'They were warned the attack was coming,' said Daniel Jik, assistant village headman, who lost two children and eight grandchildren in the attack. He pointed to the mass grave where they lay together. 'They even beheaded one woman and we had to bury her body alone because they took the head as a trophy.' Across dusty, sun-baked fields, the village church, now a blackened ruin, still smoulders. The entire region is in a state of near panic as both sides wait for reprisals. At least 20 people have been killed in attacks since the raids, which were initially believed to be in revenge for an outburst of violence in January that left casualties on both sides. A strong military presence is now evident but frightened villagers say that a curfew after the January violence failed to prevent this month’s massacre. The tension on both sides is so palpable that local officials fear the army will be unable to prevent a fresh explosion, especially in areas outside the centre of Jos. The federal Government, beset by power struggles, appears incapable of giving the strong leadership needed to avert a full-scale crisis, analysts warn. [...]"

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