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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid