Wednesday, September 7, 2011

124. NIGERIA: Jos on a knife edge; & SUDAN: war in Blue Nile State

By Elizabeth Kendal


Religious tensions soared in volatile Jos, Nigeria, after a sectarian clash in Gada-biu district of Jos North Local Government Area (LGA) on 29 August left at least 20 Christians and 22 Muslims dead. [See RLPB 123 (31 Aug 2011).]

As was expected, Muslim youths immediately plotted revenge, forging plans to attack Christian places of worship the next Sunday, 4 September. However, Jama'tu Nasril Islam and the Council of Ulama Plateau State set up a committee to mediate in the crisis. They managed to convince the Muslim youths to 'sheath their swords' and leave the matter in the hands of the police. Despite this, on Sunday 4 Sept at around 2am a mob of some 30 Fulani Muslims -- reportedly with 'sophisticated weapons' -- crept into Tatu village and forced their way into the home of the Chollom Gyang Christian family. Apart from the couple's fourth child who was away, all eight other family members were massacred in their beds, including a four-month-old baby. Due to rumours that they would be attacked there, most Christians stayed away from their churches all day.

Later that night, Sunday 4 September, mobs of Fulani Muslim tribesmen accompanied by uniformed Nigerian soldiers raided several predominantly Christian villages, shooting sporadically and hacking down those fleeing. Seven people were killed and three injured at Zallaki village near Babale in Jos North (LGA). A 74-year-old man, his wife and two grandchildren were murdered at Dabwak in Jos South (LGA) and ten were injured in nearby Farin Lamba. The al-Qaeda-linked, Maiduguri-based Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram has reportedly sent funds, vehicles and trained militants to Jos to help mobilise a 'mass attack'.

Previously a suicide bomber struck the heavily guarded UN offices in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on 26 August, killing 23 and wounding some 80. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for this their second suicide bombing in the capital (they struck the police headquarters on 16 June. See Nigeria: the Boko Haram threat, Religious Liberty Monitoring, 11 July 2011.) Churches in Abuja are employing security and closing early in daylight hours. Fear and anxiety are rising.


Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile are three border regions located in the Arab and Muslim-dominated North but are populated by predominantly Christian African tribes. According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) they were entitled to determine their own futures by means of popular consultations. [See RLPB 117 (21 July 2011).] Fully defying the CPA, the Government of Sudan (GoS) has seized and ethnically cleansed Abyei and is now doing the same in South Kordofan. On 1 September fighting erupted in Blue Nile State as GoS forces attacked the home of elected governor, SPLM-N Chairman Malik Aggar in Al-Damazin, the capital of Blue Nile State. The GoS then launched a full-scale assault on Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) positions. In what is being described as a 'political and military coup', President Bashir subsequently dismissed Governor Aggar, declared a state of emergency and installed Major General Yahya Mohamed Khair as military ruler. Reports are flowing in of military deployments, aerial bombardments and massive displacements across the region in yet another GoS-engineered humanitarian crisis.


* bring Nigeria's Boko Haram and Sudan's President Bashir to account (Psalm 10:10-13) sooner rather than later, in answer to the prayers of many (2 Corinthians 1:11).

* grace Nigerian and Sudanese Christian leaders -- both civil and religious -- with great spiritual wisdom and authority so they might rightly lead God's people through this 'valley of the shadow of death' (Psalm 23:4).

* intervene for his suffering people in the ethnic-religious fault-line regions of Nigeria and Sudan, providing all their needs and keeping them safe; may he draw them into prayer, hear their cry and answer it (Isaiah 30:18,19) 'that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the LORD' (Hezekiah's prayer -- Isaiah 37:20b ESV).


Christians and Muslims clashed in volatile Jos, Nigeria, on 29 August leaving 20 Christians and 22 Muslims dead. Muslim leaders managed to convince their youths not to retaliate by attacking the churches. However, mobs of Fulani Muslims still proceeded to raid Christian villages on Sunday 4 September, killing 19 and wounding dozens. Pray for the cycles of violence to end, and for God to protect his people. Meanwhile, conflict erupted on 1 September in Sudan's Blue Nile State, in the southern border region that is populated by predominantly Christian African tribes. Government forces attacked the home of the elected state governor, Malik Aggar. Sudan's President Bashir has dismissed Aggar and installed a military ruler amidst reports of aerial bombings and massive displacement of tribespeople. Please pray for Sudan's besieged Christians.

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