Sunday, December 7, 2008

360 Victims Buried in Jos

afrol News, 1 December - More than 360 victims of brutal ethic and religious clashes in Nigerian central city of Jos, were at the weekend, given a mass burial by federal government, local media reported.

The clashes between Christians and Muslims began on Friday when results of the disputed local government elections were being announced by election officials. The clashes left over 4,000 displaced and facing starvation.

Reports have however said peace in Jos was gradually sinking in though there are fears that violence may spread to other parts of the country. However, the government has allayed fears that state of emergency could be declared to restore peace if clashes persisted.

The Senate President David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankole said perpetrators of the Jos mayhem should not go unpunished.

From the world, leaders like Pope Benedict XVI have condemned the attacks in Nigeria that have killed hundreds of people, saying attacks should be denounced.

Meanwhile the University of Jos has, however, been shut down indefinitely to forestall further breakdown of law and order, while reports also said local hospitals in Jos are overwhelmed with patients and bodies awaiting burial in wards.

Ethnic and religious conflicts have been a constant menace, with approximately 140 million Nigerians almost evenly divided between the Muslim and Christian faiths.

The state Commissioner for Information and Communication Nuhu Gagara said some people were asking the presidency to declare a state of emergency but he would not yield to the pressure.

Supervising the burial ceremony, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Sa'id, who represented the Chief of Army Staff, said the army came in to provide its little contribution by way of providing burial materials for the dead.

About 140 troops were on Saturday airlifted to Jos from the Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna, in a Nigerian Air Force Charlie Jet marked "NAF 913".

In Nigeria, deep political division that spills over to religion and conflicts over land and political power are often intertwined as a result of traditional customs that hold the rights of indigenous people over those of migrants from other parts of the country.

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