BREAKING NEWS: Internet video proclaims Muslims must rise up in Nigeria

March 18, 2010
By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press Writer Jon Gambrell, Associated Press Writer Tue Mar 16, 2:59 pm ET

LAGOS, Nigeria – A video posted on a militant Web site calls for Muslims in Nigeria to use “the sword and the spear” to rise up against Christians in Africa’s most populous nation, according to a translation released Tuesday by a U.S. group that monitors militant sites.

The video on the Ansar al-Mujahideen forum, a Web site sympathetic to al-Qaida, comes in the wake of a series of religious massacres and riots in central Nigeria.

The video shows television news footage and graphic images of those killed as a narrator tells viewers “the solution is jihad in the cause of Allah,” according to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.

“Negotiations, dialogues and protests will not stop the advancement of the enemies and their massacres,” the narrator says. “Nothing will stop them but the sword and the spear.”

The narrator also says the “crusader West” is interested in Nigeria for its abundant oil reserves. He refers to President Umaru Yar’Adua, a Muslim from northern Nigeria, as a “tyrant” who allowed the killing of a sect leader whose group’s attacks on police stations and rioting left more than 700 people dead in July.

Nigeria’s military ended fighting led by the group, known as Boko Haram, after seizing its leader. The group’s name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the local Hausa language. The group’s leader was later killed, and the army and police gave differing accounts of his capture that suggested that he may have died while in police custody.

The release of the 10-minute video comes after more than 200 people — mostly Christians — died last week in massacres in villages outside of the central Nigerian city of Jos. More than 300 people — mostly Muslims — died in January during rioting in the same region.

Nigeria, a country of 150 million people, is split almost evenly between Christians in its south and Muslim in its north. However, the nation has yet to see an al-Qaida-inspired terror group take hold inside its borders — despite others beginning to thrive in West Africa.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said nothing would stop Nigeria’s ethnic violence except splitting the nation into Muslim and Christian states, Libya’s official news agency reported Tuesday. Gadhafi told a group of African student leaders in Tripoli that the violence in Nigeria is a “deep-rooted conflict of a religious nature” that requires a radical solution.

In May 2003, Osama bin Laden purportedly urged Muslims in the country to rise up against one of the “regimes who are slaves of America.”

Security forces claimed to break up such a linked terror cell in November 2007. Last year, a 23-year-old Nigerian who later claimed ties to al-Qaida attempted to detonate an explosive abroad a Christmas Day flight headed via Amsterdam to Detroit.

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BREAKING NEWS: Fulani Muslims Massacre 12 Christian Villagers in their Beds

March 18, 2010

 

17 March 2010

Twelve people from Byei village, Jos South were brutally murdered in an attack by Fulani Muslims last night, just over a week after around 500 Christians were massacred with machetes by a similar group of attackers.

Most of the victims were attacked in their beds. The dead include two men, four children and six women, two of whom were pregnant. One women and her son had their tongues cut out, while another was burnt alive in her home along with her two young children. Four further victims were hospitalised, two with gunshot wounds allegedly from AK 47s, and the others with machete wounds.

Twelve houses were also burnt in last night’s attack, which took place, 4 kilometres away from Riyom Local Government Council. Victims say some attackers were dressed in military uniforms.

 
For photographs of the violence, please click here (graphic):


CSW’s National Director, Stuart Windsor said: “We condemn this appalling attack on innocent men, women and children, who again have been brutally murdered in their homes merely because of their religious affiliation. The fact that these latest attackers were allegedly in military attire begs serious questions over whether army units currently stationed in Plateau State are truly capable of providing protection. We call on the federal government to initiate an immediate review of the army’s continuing failure to provide adequate safety for vulnerable Nigerian citizens, and to urgently investigate allegations of complicity on the part of elements of the armed forces”.

Source: CSW. CSW is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.


AP:Christians flee after Nigeria’s massacre

March 16, 2010
by Aminu Abubakar Aminu Abubakar  Tue Mar 9, 3:50 pm ET

JOS, Nigeria (AFP) – Christian villagers in Nigeria fled their homes fearing new attacks Tuesday even as a senior official accused the country’s military chiefs of ignoring warnings about last weekend’s massacre.

Jonah Jang, governor of central Plateau state, said the carnage that claimed hundreds of lives of mainly Christian villagers could have been avoided had there not been security lapses.

Jang told reporters he alerted the Nigeria’s army commander about reports of movement around the area and was told troops would be heading there.

But while he saw a military tank rumble by his home, located a few kilometres (miles) away from one of the affected villages, “three hours or so later, I was woken by a call that they (armed gangs) have started burning the village and people were being hacked to death.

“I tried to locate the commanders, (but) I couldn?t get any of them on the telephone,” Jang told journalists in the capital Abuja.

Near the central city of Jos, mass burials were held for some of the hundreds of victims of a three-hour orgy of violence, while survivors nursed wounds in hospitals.

Troops patrolled the three villages where members of the mainly Muslim Fulani ethnic group embarked on their killing spree. But residents of neighbouring villages said they had already received new threats.

With a six-month-old baby strapped to her back, Patricia Silas, 30, and two neighbours turned their heels on their village of Tin-Tin, opting not to hang around to become another statistic.

“We are afraid we might be the next target of attack,” Silas told AFP.

Silas said she had received threats from Fulanis who had previously settled in the village but left after violence in January in which at least 326 people died.

“They are saying they want to avenge their loss,” said Silas.

Officials said more than 500 people from the mainly Christian Berom ethnic group were hacked to death with machetes, axes and daggers in three villages of Dogo Nahawa, Ratsat and Zot on Sunday morning.

But police say they have recorded only 55 while rights groups and local media have various tolls ranging between 200 and 400. Related article: Survivors’ pain as victims buried

In a surgical ward of Jos hospital, women nursing deep scalp wounds mourned the loss of their children.

Chindum Yakubu, 30, mother of four, described the screams of her 18-month-old daughter who was hacked to death as the family tried to flee the pre-dawn attacks.

“They removed the baby (from her back) and killed her with machete,” Yakubu said.

Survivors say the authorities did nothing to prevent the butchery.

Thousands have been killed in recent years from strife in and around Jos, which is on the dividing line between the mainly Muslim north and Christian dominated south.

“One moment it’s relaxed, then the next moment people are running for their dear life,” said hospital administrator Ruth Mutfwang, summing up life in the restive region.

As a group of men huddled in small groups at Dogo Nahawa, one was overheard saying “we will take revenge”.

Meanwhile, observers warned that the government must tackle deep-rooted poverty to combat the underlying causes of ethnic tensions which have seen thousands killed here in recent years. Analysis: Land disputes, politics at root of Nigeria violence

Expressing horror at the massacre, the UN’s human rights chief Navi Pillay said, “what is most needed is a concerted effort to tackle the underlying causes of the repeated outbreaks of ethnic and religious violence … namely discrimination, poverty and disputes over land”.

Nigeria’s senate described the attacks as acts of “terrorism” and crimes against humanity.

But the main opposition Action Congress accused the federal government of “hypocrisy in its reaction” to the latest unrest, saying perpetrators of the region’s violence in recent years had not been brought to justice.

Indeed, Sunday’s attacks were only the latest between rival ethnic and religious groups.

Locals said they resulted from a feud first ignited by cattle theft that was fuelled by deadly reprisals.


Rally for Nigeria

March 16, 2010

Rally for Nigeria

Joseph Bottum

On Sunday, March 8, five hundred Christians were killed—slaughtered with machetes by Fulani Muslims in the Nigerian state of Plateau. The latest in religious clashes that the state has seen in recent months, the bulk of the attacks this time were in three farming villages (Dogo Nahawa, Zot, and Rastat) near the town of Jos, with reports claiming around 75 houses burned.

Christian leaders say they telephoned for protection from the national security forces as the Muslim crowd gathered, but the military apparently refused to react until 3:30 a.m., by which time the slaughter was mostly finished. Indeed, the failure to protect the Nigerian Christians was even more egregious—for the assailants seem to have come from out of state. Despite advance notice of their arrival, the military made no plans beforehand to protect the threatened villages.

Some of this governmental failure comes from sheer incompetence, and some derives from an unwillingness of Muslim political and military leaders to attack their own people. But mostly the failure to protect threatened Christians seems to originate in the strange fear of action the military forces seem to feel. Even while Church burnings and assassinations continue, the military—which acts as the national rapid-response police force—is terrified of being perceived as taking sides. Hundreds of deaths later, they move into an already burned-out territory and declare victory.

Christians outside Nigeria have been oddly quick to seek non-religious reasons for the murders. It’s true that ethnic battles align with some of the religious conflicts, as do geographical divisions between the oil-rich south and the impoverished north—to say nothing of the old wounds still felt from the civil war, from 1967 to 1970, over the attempt of Biafra to secede from Nigeria.

For that matter, Nigeria has been plagued with attacks on its oil wells and pipelines. Officials, including three state governors, meet yesterday to discuss an offer of amnesty for rebels who disarmed—and a militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, promptly bombed the building.

But the fact remains that, whatever the cause, violence in Nigeria always ends up as religious. Authorities have arrested and charged 49 of those who attacked the villages around the state capital of Jos, but they still have no plans in place to prevent future attacks.

And so the violence will go on. And what advice can we give the Christian communities? The incapacity of the government to protect its citizens will have—must have—one sure result: When government fails, people take on the roles of government—especially the military roles. If the Nigerian authorities cannot act, the Christian communities will have to arm themselves and form mobile, rapid response military groups to safeguard their members.

It’s hard to advise the Christians not to arm themselves, but this is not a result anyone wants to see. International pressure on the Nigerian government may help force the authorities to act more seriously. Indeed, it’s the only possible help, and here at First Things we are organizing a protest rally, to be held at 5:00 on April 7 at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, 828 Second Avenue, here in New York.

How many more rampages will it take? How many more murders of 500 people here, 500 people there—a land red with blood—before the Nigerian government understands its responsibilities? It took more than a decade for the world to understand the slaughters that were happening in the south of Sudan and apply pressure to the Sudanese government. We cannot allow the same delay to happen now. Join us on April 7 as we rally to bring attention to the murderous consequences of the failure of Nigeria to defend its own people.

Joseph Bottum is editor of First Things


Posters

March 15, 2010

Posters will be available here to download for the rally. Please check back closer to the rally date.


Travel Directions

March 15, 2010

Nigeria Women Protest Against Massacre Of Christians

March 15, 2010

By BosNewsLife Africa Service, Monday, March 15, 2010 (3:21am)

storye3a5df9929f19361fd83056d6de97461 Jos has seen several sectarian clashes. 

JOS, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Thousands of women dressed in black have marched through the streets of the troubled Nigerian city of Jos “to mourn, pray and protest” against the killings of possible hundreds of people, most of them Christians, by suspected Muslim mobs. 

Plateau State Information Commissioner Gregory Yenlong has put the casualty figure in the March 7 massacre of mostly Christian Berom farmers in three villages by Muslims from the Fulani people at more than 500. Other sources put the toll at between 100 and 400.

Wielding machetes, knives and cutlasses, the raiders swept through three, predominantly Christian, villages in the area of Jos, the capital of Plateau state, last Sunday, March 7, cutting down men, women and children, witnesses said. Generations were wiped out.

Villagers have said they saw relatives and friends hacked down with machetes and their bodies burnt.

MASS GRAVE

Residents of Dogo Nahawa, Zot and Ratsat, about 15 km (9 miles) south of the central city of Jos, buried at least dozens of bodies including those of women and children in a mass grave on Monday, March 8,  following the attacks, which they blamed on Muslim Fulani herders. Fulani representatives have denied they were involved. 

Women, who survived the violence, carried Bibles, pictures of victims, and branches “symbolising peace”, as they walked this week from the headquarters of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) to the Plateau State House of Assembly for talks with the parliament speaker, activists said Friday, March 12.

Christian pastor Esther Ebanga reportedly told the women: “Enough is enough. All we are asking is that our children and women should not be killed any more. We demand justice.”  

They later took their grievances to the governor’s residence. A simultaneous protest was held in the Nigerian capital Abuja, where hundreds of women marched to the parliament for talks with officials, said Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a major advocacy group which supports the demonstration.

In a statement, distributed by CSW, protesters condemned “the brutal killing of unsuspecting women, children and babies on the flimsiest excuse and at the slightest pretext of grievance.”

DEMANDING RELEASE

Additionally, the protesting women also asked for the release of youths who they claimed “were unfairly” detained in connection with the violence. 

They also called for troops to leave, saying that the army had not stopped the massacre and in at least some cases participated in it.

Amongst other things, the women demanded that soldiers involved in “the extra judicial killing of civilians” should be prosecuted, and demanded the removal of Chief of Army Staff General Danbazzau and Major General Saleh Maina, General Officer Commanding the 3rd Armoured Division, “for failure to protect innocent citizens”.

The army leaders had no comment.

As “sporadic attacks continue in remote areas” despite military patrols and a curfew, hostility towards the army is increasing among the local population, CSW said.

TROOPS EXPELLED

In at least one incident, Nigerian troops arriving at Kwata village March 9 were reportedly themselves driven away, after villagers successfully repulsed an attack by a suspected Muslim mob. CSW has urged Nigerian authorities to improve the protection of Christian villagers and take action against Nigerian forces involved in violence.

“The reported army abuses in Plateau State, and its seeming failure to provide protection for vulnerable villagers, are undermining confidence in an important national institution,” added CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas in a statement to BosNewsLife.

“We also join the women of Plateau State in their call for the release of youths spuriously detained in connection with violence. Impunity will only end when the real organisers and perpetrators are apprehended and brought to justice,” he added.

Previous clashes in and around Jos has claimed several thousand lives. Jos lies in central Nigeria, on the faultline between the Christian majority south and the mostly Muslim north.

There have been outbreaks of violence every few years since 2001, and some commentators  attributed Sunday’s slaughter to revenge for the killings of Muslims by alleged Christian extremists last January.

But some residents have told reporters the latest killings were part of a “spiralling feud” between the Fulani, who are nomads, and Berom, who are farmers, which had been sparked by the theft of cattle, rather than for religious motives.

 

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