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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    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.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora