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Renewed violence between Christians, Muslims in Nigeria

Catholic World News - February 02, 2011

Violence between Christian and Muslim youths has flared up in the central Nigerian city of Jos, leading to the deaths of at least 19 people, the burning of gasoline stations and a college, and the attempted bombing of a Methodist church.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported:

The weekend of violence began on the evening of Friday 28 January, when members of a Muslim funeral procession drove through Jos University’s Student Village near Farin Gada, taunted occupants, and stabbed a male and female student in the presence of soldiers stationed nearby. When angry students demanded to know why the soldiers had failed to prevent the stabbings, one of the soldiers drew a line on the ground, threatening to shoot any student who crossed it. As Professor Rodgak Gofwen, Dean of Students Affairs, arrived at the scene to calm the students, a soldier open fire as he was speaking, injuring seven students …

On Saturday 29 January the situation deteriorated further as students poured onto the streets to confront Muslim youths who had mobilized after their morning prayers. By 9 am, homes and business premises in the area had been set on fire. As youths from the predominantly Christian community of Farin Gada rushed to the scene to protect shops from looters, soldiers opened fire on them after allegedly mistaking them for arsonists … In response to the shootings, angry youths targeted Muslim businesses and homes.

On January 30, a bomb was placed in a Methodist church but was discovered before it was detonated. The following night, a predominantly Christian village was attacked.

Thousands of women marched through the streets of Jos on February 1 to protest the violence and call for an end to anti-Christian discrimination by the military. “Women are killed and children are killed,” said the group’s spokeswoman. “Pregnant women are killed and the babies cut out of their wombs.”

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