News / Africa

Wave of Violence Sweeps Central Nigeria

FILE: In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, a burned  house is pictured following an attack by gunmen, in Wada Chakawa, Yola, Nigeria.FILE: In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, a burned house is pictured following an attack by gunmen, in Wada Chakawa, Yola, Nigeria.
x
FILE: In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, a burned  house is pictured following an attack by gunmen, in Wada Chakawa, Yola, Nigeria.
FILE: In this photo taken on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, a burned house is pictured following an attack by gunmen, in Wada Chakawa, Yola, Nigeria.
Heather Murdock
A wave of religious and ethnic violence has devastated many communities in Nigeria's central region over the past few days.  Local leaders say the government needs to arrest and prosecute attackers or the violence will escalate.  
 
At this restaurant in central Nigeria, Isaac Benjamin eats traditional fried rice and fish while he reads the news on his laptop computer.  Violence in the region appears to be increasing daily, with recent attacks killing scores of people.  He says almost no one has been arrested.

“The government is not sincere about punishing perpetrators of these dastardly acts," he said. "The only thing we hear is that one person has been arrested and that is all you hear about it.”  
 
Human Rights Watch says 3,000 people have been killed in sectarian violence since 2010 in Kaduna and Plateau, both “Middle Belt” states where the mostly-Christian south meets the mostly-Muslim north.  Almost no one has been prosecuted.  
 
Iframs Goje, the president of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, says more than 1,000 of those deaths were in his area, and recent attacks have been particularly brutal.  On Friday, a family of seven was killed when gunmen raided a remote village about 200 kilometers from the state capital city of Kaduna.

“Some of the victims were a one-year-old baby who was slain and his body placed on the tummy of the mother, who too was slain," said Goje. "One of the daughters had all her intestines punctured and abandoned and the house where they were was set ablaze.  The culprit escaped.”
 
He says on Monday as many as 30 people were killed in a nearby community, including a soldier and a police officer, and 60 homes were burned to the ground.

“Not only were their houses burnt down, their food items were burnt.  Their clothing burnt," said Goje. "Their livestock burnt.  And I’m worried that there is famine and hunger coming.”
 
More soldiers and police, he says, will not end the violence.  He says he fears if attackers are not arrested and prosecuted, the violence will only get worse as people arm themselves to defend their homes.
 
There have also been recent reports of killings in Plateau state, which shares a tenuous border with Kaduna.  The fighting is along religious and ethnic lines but the disputes are usually over land and revenge killings.  
 
At a press center in Kaduna Wednesday, Yohanna Buru, a pastor, says communities do not know how to stop the cycle of violence on their own.

“The people there are really worried about it," said Buru. "How will government help them? That there will be peace between them?”
 
He says neither the government nor international rights organizations have yet to offer a solution.  
 
On a nearby street, resident Lukas Benyat says past solutions have included peace talks between high-level officials who have no real power in the remote communities that suffer the attacks.

“If you do not reach them, and try to find ways to pacify them and let them sit together - the soldiers, the foot soldiers - government is just wasting its time and wasting public money," said Benyat.  
 
Last year, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said 14,000 people were killed in sectarian violence in Nigeria since 1999.  The group says Boko Haram, a four-and-a-half-year-old Islamist insurgent group that has killed thousands, benefits from the “culture of impunity and lawlessness" and it feeds tensions between Christians and Muslims.  
 
 

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Charles
February 05, 2014 3:30 PM
In this type of situation, it is only God that will come to the help of the parishing common masses. The villages under attack should not go to sleep. They should keep watch and be at alert to notify the security agents were possible. Note that you are gradually been wiped out. Many families have become extinct. This is tactical genocide. May God give our leaders wisdom to tackle this genocide.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid