Nigeria: many die in Jos riots

The Missionary News Service report that there have been many casualties in riots that have taken place in Jos, in the Plateau state of Nigeria.

“Gunfire appears to have stopped an hour ago and there are now military patrols on the streets after the violence and looting”, said MISNA sources this morning. 

The fighting  between armed groups began on Sunday; after a hiatus on Monday, they resumed on Tuesday, despite the fact that authorities issued a curfew; the violence spread from the Nassarawa Gwom quarter to the area of Bukuru.

A BBC news report said that the causes of the riots was economic - rather than religious. "People are fighting over land, jobs and property, not faith" the report said.

MISNA sources said that the clashes originated from a dispute related to the reconstruction of some houses that were destroyed during the 2008 riots though somebody is trying “to transform a political issue into a religious clash”.

It is also likely that the rioting was prompted by Christian youths protesting the building of a mosque in a Christian-controlled area of the city last Sunday.

The fighting continues at the entrance to Jos said the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesman Robin Waudo, intent on organizing aid for civilians alongside the Nigerian Red Cross.

“A group of Red Cross workers is blocked inside the police barracks inside Jos, while ICRC volunteers, who managed to distribute aid and evacuate the wounded, were prevented from returning home because of the new wave of violence” said Waudo to MISNA, adding that he was “unable to confirm the death-toll of at least 150 that were published by the international media”. What is certain, added Waujo, is that “hundreds of families have left their homes, fearing the clashes” and they are now camped out near the police stations and the institutional headquarters in search of protection. To restore order in the city, local authorities have decreed a permanent ceasefire starting today (24 hours round the clock) until a new order is issued.


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