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Frightened Residents Flee Nigerian City of Jos

Hundreds of frightened residents are fleeing the city of Jos, the capital of Nigeria’s Plateau State.

They’re afraid, despite increased security and a curfew aimed at stopping days of Christian-Muslim fighting, which has killed hundreds.

Reports say the presence of armed soldiers has failed to reassure the population, and people fear that violence may flare up again. Joy Simon is a reporter covering the clashes.

She says there is renewed tension in the city because of the discovery of more victims.

“There is this place in Jos where they have about 150 dead bodies buried in wells, so that brought another sporadic attack on both sides.

So both parties believe they are still killing ‘our’ people, so the fighting continues.”

The presence of heavily armed soldiers has not improved security, says Simon, because residents believe some rogue officers are taking sides in the fighting.

“We only heard about it, but underground some soldiers are sabotaging the effort…. For instance, the man that is the GOC (General Commanding Officer) at the heat of the crisis, he …evacuated only Muslins from the town.”

But Nigerian military officials denied the charge. They say since Jos is predominantly a Christian town, the soldiers had to separate warring religious youths from both sides.

Simon says despite the harsh conditions, residents are making efforts to re-supply their exhausted stock of basic [supplies].

“There is still apprehension because nobody knows what else may happen, but there [are] skeletal services and people get what they can and rush home for fear of attack.”