Monday, March 8, 2010
According to witness and media reports, at least two hundred people in Nigeria have been killed after pastoralists and villagers clashed near the city of Jos, which has been the source of repeated tension between Christians and Muslims.
Local authorities, however, contradicted witness reports, saying that there were eight casualties, as did Mark Lipdo, an aid worker for the Stefanus Foundation charity, who reported that at least a hundred people were dead.
Witness reports state that pastoralists started firing into the air in the village of Dogo Nahawa, about five kilometres south of Jos, at night, and attacked those who emerged from their homes. “They came around three o’clock in the morning and they started shooting into the air. The shooting was just meant to bring people from their houses and then when people came out they started cutting them with machetes,” commented Peter Jang, who lives in the village, as quoted by Al Jazeera.
According to the Agence France-Presse news agency, some of the victims were children.
Acting Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan said he had placed national troops on “red alert” following the clashes. “The acting president has placed all the security forces in the plateau and neighbouring states on red alert so as to stem any cross-border dimensions to this latest conflict,” read a statement released by his office. Armed forces are already present in Jos.
“The security services are on top of the situation,” said Jonathan’s spokesman Ima Niboro in an email statement to the Bloomberg news service.
In January, at least 400 people were killed and a further four thousand injured in the city of Jos after tensions between Christians and Muslims.