News / Africa

    Nigerian Leaders Say Jos Violence Will Not Disrupt April Vote

    Hundreds of women march through the streets to protest the killing of women and children and destruction of properties in Jos, Plateau State in central Nigeria on January 31, 2011
    Hundreds of women march through the streets to protest the killing of women and children and destruction of properties in Jos, Plateau State in central Nigeria on January 31, 2011

    Nigeria's government says continuing religious and ethnic violence in central regions will not disrupt nationwide elections in April.  At least 200 people have died in that violence, in the last month.  

    Most of the violence is centered on the Plateau State capital, Jos, where rival gangs of Christian and Muslim youths have engaged in revenge attacks since Christmas Eve bombings that killed 80 people and wounded more than 100 others.

    Much of the tension in what is known as Nigeria's "Middle Belt" comes from land disputes between mostly-Christian farmers and predominantly-Muslim pastoralists. That hostility has been exacerbated by a radical Muslim group, known as Boko Haram, that says it is fighting for the creation of an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

    But last week's assassination of a leading gubernatorial candidate in Borno State has raised concerns that the previously-localized violence could undermine nationwide elections in April.

    President Goodluck Jonathan's government has moved quickly to try to reassure voters and candidates that the elections will be secure. 

    "I can assure you that, by the grace of God, April elections will be peaceful," said
    Humphrey Abbah, Nigeria's minister of police affairs.

    Abbah says the government understands the problem and is moving to contain it. "There are challenges that have come up, and we are up to the task,” Abbah explains. “You should realize that government has the capacity to contain it. And, we are going to contain it."

    Abbah will not say what actions security officials are planning. "Security measures to combat these things cannot be said on televisions and radios. That is why they remain security ways of handling it.  We are tackling it.  It will soon be over," he said.

    Civil society leaders in Plateau State say one of the reasons for the recent insecurity appears to be the rotation of troops in a special military task force.  Brigadier General Hassan Umaru, who commands that task force, says the rotation will be complete by the end of this week.

    "I just want to use this opportunity to ask the people to be patient with us because we have a large turnout of people coming in to replace the present ones on the ground," he said.

    The local Red Cross has been helping to treat people injured during the violence and is improving conditions at centers for displaced civilians in case their numbers grow, as the elections approach.

    "In Jos, we do have an office where we are now launching water and sanitation programs that will concentrate in schools that are places where people will flee when there is violence in their region. So we do want to have structures that will be ready to receive these people if they have to flee because of the violence," said Zoran Jovanovich, the head of the Red Cross delegation in the capital, Abuja.

    Jovanovic says the Red Cross continues to work freely, despite considerable religious tension in Jos. "Sometimes even the police will hesitate to deploy Muslim officers in Christian neighborhoods or vice versa. I think the fact that we do have a very good branch of the Red Cross has helped us so far to be able to work more or less normally,” he said. “But it is obvious that in a time of tension, any movement in Jos town is very difficult and can be very dangerous."

    The Jonathan government says some of its new anti-terrorism measures include closer inspections of police-licensed armories, the installation of more closed-circuit televisions to monitor public places and stepped-up security around political events to deter electoral violence.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.