News / Africa

Year After Church Bombings Kaduna Struggles to Rebuild

Soldiers stand guards outside St. Rita's Catholic church following a suicide bombing in Kaduna, Nigeria, October 28, 2012.
Soldiers stand guards outside St. Rita's Catholic church following a suicide bombing in Kaduna, Nigeria, October 28, 2012.
Heather Murdock
Sectarian violence has plagued central Nigeria for decades and tens of thousands of people have been killed.  Many mosques and churches are still rubble and in some cities the population has segregated itself out of fear.  It is the first anniversary of triple church bombings that sparked sectarian riots in the central city of Kaduna.
 
There is no roof on this mosque in Kaduna and no walls to protect worshippers from the smell of a nearby open sewer.  It’s been almost a year since the last time it was burnt to the ground but people still come here to pray.  
 
Mallum Abdullahi Bayero, a spokesman for the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria, says because so many mosques have been destroyed in this area, some Muslims are afraid to attend services.

“A lot of Muslim brothers doesn’t have the free of fear atmosphere, a conducive atmosphere for them to practice and actualize their religion," said Bayero.

The third time this mosque was destroyed was last June, after three churches were bombed, killing 19 people.  In the days that followed nearly 100 more people died in fighting between Christians and Muslims in Kaduna.
 
Christian leaders say despite the relative calm over the past year, their members are also still afraid to attend services.
 
Yohanna Buru is the president of the Peace Revival and Reconciliation foundation of Nigeria, a Christian non-governmental organization.  He says nearly 100 churches and mosques lay in rubble in Kaduna.
 
To end sectarian violence once and for all, he says clergy members should not just preach peace, but Christians should rebuild the mosques and Muslims should rebuild the churches.

“Wherever Christians are, let’s stand up and begin to defend the mosques and protect the mosques, including the Muslims too.  So that in the Muslim dominated areas, too, those that protect the churches and the Christians too so that we will live in peace and harmony in this country," said Buru.

Buru says his organization is working to rebuild three mosques and with an Islamic organization that is trying to rebuild churches.
 
Rebuilding this mosque, he says, could physically be done in a few months.  But there are other constraints.  Some members of his church resist the idea of building mosques, either because of anger or fear that angry youths will just burn them down again.  
 
Emmanuel Dziggau is the president of The United Church of Christ in Nigeria.  He says a lasting peace will require a fundamental change in attitudes towards religion.
 
“The government can’t do this alone.  Even the religious leaders, we have to preach peace, preach understanding.  We [should] preach what actually is found in the holy books in Nigeria.  Religion in Nigeria is come to either to destroy people or to make the country unbearable," said Dziggau.

Kaduna is in Nigeria’s volatile “Middle Belt” and the city is divided much like the country at large, with mostly Muslims in the north and mostly Christians in the south.  
 
Analysts say the clashes are not usually about religion itself, but politics, economics and reprisal attacks.  
 
However in the Middle Belt, ethnic, economic and political lines are often the same as religious lines and people on the streets tend to identify the fighting as between Christians and Muslims.
 
And as both Muslim and Christian clergy struggle build a lasting peace, they say it can be difficult to gather the tens of thousands of dollars it costs to build a house of worship.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

Alaskans experiencing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more frequent and extensive wildfires, deteriorating glaciers, and swift shoreline erosion More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs