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UN chief appalled by deadly violence in Nigeria

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Mallaba, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Mallaba

    Mallaba JF-Expert Member

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    UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday condemned the deadly violence that broke out in parts of Nigeria in recent days and reportedly killed at least 30 people and injured more than 70 others.
    Bombings struck near the city of Jos in the central state of Plateau on Friday, according to media reports. These have been followed by further clashes in the city, which has been the scene of past violence between Christians and Muslims, including earlier this year.
    In addition, members of a radical Muslim sect reportedly attacked two churches in the northern state of Borno on Friday, killing several people.
    "The Secretary-General condemns these deplorable acts of violence, especially at a time when millions of Nigerians are celebrating religious holidays, and supports efforts by the Nigerian authorities to bring those responsible to justice," his spokesperson said in a statement.
    Ban also conveyed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Nigeria.
     
  2. Mallaba

    Mallaba JF-Expert Member

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    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria - Dozens of armed men attacked the church on Christmas Eve, dragging the pastor out of his home and shooting him to death. Two young men from the choir rehearsing for a late-night carol service also were slain.

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    The wreckage of a burnt truck carrying detergent is seen along a road in Nigeria's central city of Jos December 26, 2010. Clashes broke out between armed Christian and Muslim groups near the central Nigerian city of Jos on Sunday, a Reuters witness said, after Christmas Eve bombings in the region killed more than 30 people. Buildings were set ablaze and people were seen running for cover as the police and military arrived on the scene in an effort to disperse crowds. [Photo/Agencies]


    The group of about 30 attackers armed with guns and knives also killed two people passing by Victory Baptist Church. The assailants only left after setting the church and pastor's house ablaze.
    Danjuma Akawu, the church's secretary, managed to escape after he and others climbed over the church's fence.

    "I cannot understand these attacks," Akawu said. "Why Christians? Why Christians? The police have failed to protect us."
    At the opposite end of the city, Rev. Haskanda Jessu said that three men attacked the Church of Christ in Nigeria an hour later, killing a 60-year-old security guard.
    At least 38 people died in Christmas Eve attacks across Nigeria, including the six killed at churches in the country's north by suspected members of a radical Muslim sect. In central Nigeria, 32 died in a series of bomb blasts in the worst violence to hit the region in months.
    Authorities have not identified suspects following the Christmas Eve explosions in Jos. On Sunday, there were reports of renewed violence in the area although it was not immediately clear how many people may have been wounded or killed.
    Two of the bombs went off Friday near a large market where people were doing last-minute Christmas shopping. A third hit a mainly Christian area of Jos, while the fourth was near a road that leads to the city's main mosque.
    It was not immediately clear whether the bombs were related to the church attacks. The two areas are about 320 miles (520 kilometers) apart.
    The group blamed for the church attacks _ the radical Muslim sect known as Boko Haram _ used to be based in Bauchi, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the area where the bombs went off. The group is now headquartered in Maiduguri, where the church attacks took place.
    The African Union Commission's Chairman, Jean Ping, expressed shock and sadness at the explosions in Jos and church attacks in Maiduguri.
    "He condemns in the strongest terms these cowardly terrorist attacks, which cannot be justified under any circumstances," said a statement released by his office Sunday.
    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed his sympathy to the victims' families and said the government will bring the perpetrators to justice.
    "I assure Nigerians that government will go to the root of this," he said of the explosions. "We must unearth what caused it and those behind it must be brought to book."
    Religious violence already has left more than 500 people dead this year in Jos and neighboring towns and villages, but the situation was believed to have calmed down before the weekend bombings. The explosions Friday were the first major attack in Jos since the state government lifted a curfew in May.
    Nigeria, a country of 150 million people, is almost evenly split between Muslims in the north and the predominantly Christian south. The blasts happened in central Nigeria, in the nation's "middle belt," where dozens of ethnic groups vie for control of fertile lands.
    The violence, though fractured across religious lines, often has more to do with local politics, economics and rights to grazing lands. The government of Plateau state, where Jos is the capital, is controlled by Christian politicians who have blocked Muslims from being legally recognized as citizens. That has locked many out of prized government jobs in a region where the tourism industry and tin mining have collapsed in the last decades.
    Police and the army have declined to identify suspects in the Jos bombings, and state governor David Jang would only say "we believe some highly placed people masterminded the attack." Authorities, though, already have blamed the radical Muslim sect Boko Haram for the Christmas Eve church attacks.
    The radical Muslim sect, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language, was thought to be vanquished in 2009. Nigeria's military crushed its mosque into concrete shards, and its leader was arrested and died in police custody.
    But now, a year later, Maiduguri and surrounding villages again live in fear of the group, whose members have assassinated police and local leaders and engineered a massive prison break, officials say. Western diplomats worry that the sect is catching the attention of al-Qaida's North Africa branch. It remains unclear what, if any, formal links al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb has made with Boko Haram.
    The holiday violence in Nigeria comes as the president, a Christian from the south of Nigeria, is trying to unify the country to support him ahead of next year's election. Jonathan became president earlier this year following the death of Nigeria's elected Muslim leader, and some within his party feel the next leader should also be Muslim.
    Party leaders had anticipated that Jonathan's predecessor would hold office for two, four-year terms like the Christian president before him. An unwritten agreement in the ruling People's Democratic Party calls for its presidential candidates to alternate between the Christian south and the Muslim north.
     
  3. Mallaba

    Mallaba JF-Expert Member

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    People look at the wreckage of a burnt car after an explosion in Nigeria's central city of Jos December 25, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]
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    People look at a burnt area after an explosion in Nigeria's central city of Jos in this December 25, 2010 picture. [Photo/Agencies
     
  4. Mallaba

    Mallaba JF-Expert Member

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    [​IMG]
    Smoke rises from Rukuba neighbourhood in Nigeria's central city of Jos December 26, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]
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    Women sit with their children at a camp for internally displaced people in Nigeria's central city of Jos December 26, 2010
     
  5. Mallaba

    Mallaba JF-Expert Member

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    [​IMG]
    People wave as soldiers patrol the streets using an armoured vehicle in Nigeria's central city of Jos December 26, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]
     
  6. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    Religious Clashes Flare In Central Nigeria

    By REUTERS

    Published: December 26, 2010

    Filed at 10:52 p.m. ET

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    JOS, Nigeria (Reuters) - Clashes broke out between armed Christian and Muslim groups near the central Nigerian city of Jos on Sunday, a Reuters witness said, after Christmas Eve bombings in the region killed more than 30 people.
    Buildings were set ablaze and people were seen running for cover as the police and military arrived on the scene in an effort to disperse crowds. Injured people covered in blood were being dragged by friends and family to hospital.
    The unrest was triggered by explosions on Christmas Eve in villages near Jos, capital of Plateau state, that killed at least 32 people and left 74 critically injured.
    The Red Cross said on Saturday it was not in a position to state the total number of deaths caused by the explosions but confirmed that 95 were seriously injured in hospital.
    Vice President Namadi Sambo will travel to Jos on Sunday.
    "The vice president is on his way to Jos to make an effort to quell this crisis," Sambo's spokesman said.
    The unrest has come at a difficult time for President Goodluck Jonathan, who is running a controversial campaign ahead of the ruling party's primaries on January 13.
    A ruling party pact says that power within the People's Democratic Party (PDP) should rotate between the mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south every two terms.
    In Rome, Pope Benedict condemned Christmas Day attacks on two Christian churches in northeast Nigeria and Italy's foreign ministry said it would summon the Nigerian ambassador shortly to express its concern. Italy often backs the Vatican's concern over religious violence against Catholics and other Christians.
    "POLITICAL"
    Jonathan is a southerner who inherited office when President Umaru Yar'Adua, a northerner, died during his first term this year and some northern factions in the ruling party are opposed to his candidacy.
    Jonathan faces a challenge from former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for the ruling party nomination, and some fear any unrest in Africa's most populous nation will be exploited by rivals during campaigning.
    The governor of Plateau state has said the bombings were politically motivated terrorism, aimed at pitting Christians against Muslims to start another round of violence.
    Christians, Muslims and animists from a patchwork of ethnic groups live peacefully side by side in most Nigerian cities.
    But hundreds of people died in religious and ethnic clashes at the start of the year in the central Middle Belt and there are fears politicians could try to stoke such rivalries as the elections approach.
    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.
    The African Union (AU) on Saturday released a statement condemning the Christmas Eve bombings and offered its condolences to the families of those who have died.
    "(The AU) reaffirms the determination of the African Union to combat terrorism and to continue to support the efforts being deployed by Member States in this respect," a statement from AU chairman Jean Ping said.
    (Additional reporting by Felix Onuah in Abuja, Aaron Maasho in Nairobi and Philip Pullella in Rome; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Louise Ireland and Mark Trevelyan)
     
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