May 7, 2004
The Independent

Nigerian Christians Accused of 'Genocide'

Anne Penketh

Nigeria's top Muslim leader yesterday accused Christian militias of committing "genocide" against Muslims, as riot police were sent to quell worsening sectarian unrest.

Justice Abdulkadir Orire, the secretary general of the umbrella organisation Jama'atu Nasril Islam, risked fuelling the unrest when he suggested that the state governor may have been complicit in the weekend attacks in the central town of Yelwa that may have left 300 people dead.

. . . Reporters who entered the town on Tuesday saw mutilated and charred corpses on the streets as Muslims lined the roadside vowing revenge for the attacks. Almost every house on the main street had been burnt down, and a mosque was destroyed. In neighbouring Christian villages, youths were reported to be preparing for a new round of bloodletting.

According to Mr Orire, who is a spokesman for Nigeria's 60 million Muslims, police stationed in Yelwa were withdrawn four days before the attack, despite complaints from local Muslims that they were surrounded by Taroks amid rising tension. The Christian militias, who were armed with machine guns, surrounded Yelwa on Sunday night and reportedly went from house to house, killing anyone in sight. . . .


David Finkel, "Crime and Holy Punishment: In Divided Nigeria, Search for Justice Leads Many to Embrace Islamic Code," Washington Post, November 24, 2002

"Nigerian avoids death by stoning," BBC News, September 25, 2003

Gilbert Da Costa, "Woman says trial increased her faith in Islam," Gwinnett Daily Post

"Nigerian Muslims bury 600 after Christian slaughter," The Guardian, May 7, 2004

[A class action suit is being prepared over coming months which will accuse the company of supporting military operations in the Niger Delta more than 10 years ago.--"Shell admits fuelling corruption," BBC News, June 11, 2004]

Christian Allen Purefoy, "Five days of violence by Nigerian Christians and Muslims kill 150," Independent, February 24, 2006

["The cycle of violence is explained by the fact that both the two communities, Muslim and Christian, share many of the same problems, including lack of economic opportunities," says Corinne Dufka, an Africa researcher with Human Rights Watch, based in Dakar, Senegal.--Scott Baldauf, "What's behind Christian-Muslim fighting in Nigeria," Christian Science Monitor, January 19, 2010]

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