Monday, March 08, 2010

More Than 500 Massacred In Sectarian Clashes In Nigeria

Words can't describe how many of the people killed were slaughtered.
At least 500 people were killed on Sunday in communal clashes near Nigeria's central city of Jos, a state governor's advisor told AFP on Monday, revising a previous toll of around 100 dead.

"We have been able to make 95 arrests but at the same time over 500 people have been killed in this heinous act... by Fulani herdsmen," Dan Manjang said in a telephone interview.

Nigeria's acting president put security forces on alert after machete wielding gangs massacred the people, mainly women and children, officials said.

Witnesses described how victims were caught in animal traps and fishing nets as they tried to flee their attackers, who hacked them to death in what appeared to have been a well-organised attack.

Much of the violence in the early hours of Sunday was centred around the village of Dogo Nahawa, near the Jos.
The reports frequently drop the motivations behind who was killed and who did the killing, but this New York Times report indicates that the victims were Christians murdered by rampaging Muslims. The violence is along a dividing line between the Muslim North and Christian South.

There have been numerous skirmishes in recent years along the dividing line, but the current massacre was apparently unprovoked. One should expect reprisals from Christians against the Muslims unless the government somehow manages to clamp down and provide security to prevent further bloodshed, which it has been unable to do for years.

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