Friday, May 6, 2011

Unity and Faith, Part 3

We continue from Part 1 and Part 2 considering the situation in Nigeria.

First, we consider Muslim Attackers Kill 16, Burn 20 Houses In Bauchi, dated May 6, 2011:

Police say attackers killed at least 16 people and burned down 20 houses in a northern Nigerian town with a history of sectarian violence.

The Bauchi state police chief told The Associated Press on Friday that the attack took place around dawn near Tafawa Balewa town.

Amanam Abakasanga said most of the victims are of the Sayawa ethnic group comprised mainly of Christians.

The Sayawas are in the majority in the town and its surrounding villages, but their traditional rulers have been of the predominantly Muslim Fulani ethnic group.

The Sayawas have demanded a separate traditional ruler, which has led to attacks and counterattacks over the past two decades.

The election-related violence in Nigeria is now showing clear signs of being a Muslim/Christian fight.

Next, we review segments of My friend's husband, brother, were slaughtered and her son thrown into burning car, dated May 6, 2011:

Every evening, before sunset, the entire Kaduna State is locked up: residents are forced indoors until the state is unlocked by its keepers at dawn. That is the huge price the residents now pay for the third week running for the indiscretion of some miscreants. But the authorities say the sacrifice is worth it.

Youths who claimed to be protesting the result of the last presidential election had sparked a full scale arson and mass murder that are unusual even by the records of the state.

An estimated 300 people were killed, hundreds of churches and mosques torched, homes and places of business ruined in one fell swoop.

Governor Patrick Yakowa, after an emergency Security Council Meeting of the state, imposed a 24 hour curfew in the state on the 17th April, 2011, then relaxed it from 5am to 8pm. Yet life is not yet back to normal.

The price of the violence is much appreciated in the vast physical destruction; in the human casualty that is far less than the trauma of some victims whose psyche, and even mental state are forever altered.

"I was in school when I heard rumours of war from some of my classmates who were receiving distress phone calls", Mrs Juliana Moses, a student of School of Nursing and Midwifery, Wusasa Zaria, told Saturday Vanguard at the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria where she is taking refuge.

The military authorities do not allow journalists in, but Saturday Vanguard found its way in.

"I did not take it very serious, as I was busy in my ward attending to patients as part of my practicals", said the mother of a three year old girl who she left in care of a nanny at Wusasa, an area dominated by CPC (Congress for Progressive Change) supporters.

CPC youth supporters are accused of starting the violence.

"Then I heard cries all over the place", she said.

A pick-up van had just brought the corpses of three men battered to death by the rioters, their throats slit like a slaughtered sheep. She said they were Christians caught unawares in the Muslims dominated part of Zaria.

The article then explains how a woman's husband and younger brother were "slaughtered" in front of her, then the gang of assailants set fire to the family car, beat her, took her baby, and threw the baby into the burning car.

Skipping down, we get to another excerpt:

"My house and business have been burnt for a second time", said Ibraheem Jimoh who has been living in Kaduna since 1978 around Tudun Wada, a strong CPC enclave where a lot of bloodshed took place.

"They said, I was a supporter of PDP. And that as Yoruba Muslim I was not a pure Muslim.

"We are treated the same as Christians each time there is a problems here."

We ended Part 2 having come across the word jihad; now we are beginning to see what that means.

In Islam, jihad is not just a holy war against infidels; it is also a holy war against Muslims who think differently from the Muslims waging the jihad.

The comments are quite interesting; some call for a counterjihad, and receive approval:

In this context, it is interesting to consider allegations of improper conduct on the part of security forces. From Nigerian cops, troops accused of abuses, dated May 6, 2011:

Kano - Rights groups on Friday accused Nigerian troops and police of abuses, including extra-judicial killings, as they sought to quell deadly riots in northern Nigeria after the April 16 presidential poll.

Police and military officials could not be reached for comment, but a spokesman for the governor in the hard-hit state of Kaduna denied the allegations.

New York-based Human Rights Watch and Civil Rights Congress, a local rights group based in the city of Kaduna, have separately accused soldiers and police of extra-judicial killings and other abuses.

The abuses are alleged to have occurred in Kaduna and another northern city, Zaria, both of which were severely affected by the riots that Civil Rights Congress says killed more than 500 people.

Abuse of police power?

The Fund for Peace's Nigeria Profile, as of August 20, 2010, had this to say about Nigerian security forces:

The Nigerian police force is highly corrupt, poorly trained, and has been accused of committing widespread human rights abuses with near impunity. They have been unable to prevent violent riots in many major cities, and are well-known for their practice of extrajudicial killings of persons in custody, suspects, and rioters. The most recent struggle occurred in July 2009, in which 700 died (mostly Muslim civilians) when an Islamic fundamentalist sect and police clashed in the city of Maiduguri. Like much of the nation, the police force suffers from religious and ethnic divisions.

If the perception exists that security forces are taking sides (even if it is only a perception), that can cause further instability. And, there certainly seems to be reason to perceive such a thing.

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