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

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs