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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
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 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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid