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Protests held in Jos after massacre

8 Mar 2010

Youths in Bukuru and Barkin Ladi are holding protests following the massacre of more than two hundred Christians in Zot, Dogo Nahauwa and Rastat villages, Jos South, by armed Fulani Muslims in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Entire families are reported to have been murdered, despite a heavy security presence, although the final death toll is still to be confirmed due to corpses being uncovered in bushes.

Survivors of the massacre say armed men arrived at around three o'clock on Sunday morning, and woke the villagers simultaneously with gun fire and shouting, before setting homes on fire and attacking men, women and children with knives. Most died from machete wounds and many bodies were decapitated. In one location CSW Nigeria staff counted the corpses of four babies; 28 children under five, 19 over five, 21 women and 15 men. The bodies of babies had also been set on fire.

Army assistance was requested, but arrived after the massacre had taken place. Some youths are now calling for the army to leave, as they question its role in the violence and feel its presence has done little to deter attacks on isolated communities. Earlier today, some Muslim-owned vans at Jos General Cereal Company were set on fire by youths in the Anguldi Junction area of Jos, Plateau State, angered by the massacre.

The attackers are said to have travelled into the area from the neighbouring Shari'a state of Bauchi during curfew hours. The violence is thought to be in retaliation for an incident in Kuru Karama on 19 January, which was widely reported as a Christian massacre of 150 Muslim villagers. However, the village head of Kuru Karama, a non-Muslim who fled the violence, has since confirmed that non-Muslim houses and bodies were among those shown in international media reports.

For a photograph of this weekend's violence to use in reports, please contact CSW:

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: "This is by far the most serious of several similar attacks on isolated villages that have occurred since January 2010. Innocent men women, children and even babies have been murdered in a most appalling manner simply because of their religious affiliation. What is particularly worrying is that attacks continue to occur despite a curfew that the army is meant to be enforcing. The army must begin to conduct stringent searches of all vehicles travelling outside curfew hours in order to restore its credibility with the local population. Urgent action must also be taken to track down both the perpetrators and organisers of this massacre and to bring them to justice".



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