An ethnic cleansing of a group of Christian Nigerians at the hand of a Mulsim group leave 500 dead
by Alessia Faustini
Over 500 people were killed in Nigeria after a weekend of vicious ethnic cleansing of Christians, of which most victims were women and children, at the hand of Hausa-Fulani, a Muslim group of herdsmen.
The massacre happened near the city of Jos, which has long been a site of tension between Muslim and Christian Nigerians. Those killed were members of a Christian group which opposed the Hausa-Fulani. According to the New York Times, the violence was in retaliation for violence that occurred in January, also near Jos, where dozens of Muslims were killed.
The attackers were also motivated by a theft of their cattle at the hand of the same Christian group that the victims belonged to.
A Nigerian rights group who investigated the area after the violence reported that early on Sunday, the attackers set homes on fire and killed women and children with machetes. Those who attempted to escape were trapped in fishnets and animals traps.
Rev. Emmanuel Joel, of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Jos told the New York Times that this was “a sort of vengeance from the Hausa-Fulani.” Following the violence in January, “the military watched over the city, and neglected the villages,” he said.
“They began to slaughter the people like animals,” Rev. Joel said.
Nigerian officials reportedly made 95 arrests, some of which were people belonging to Hausa-Fulani, a police spokesperson, Mohammed Larema, said to the Globe and Mail.
In Dogon Na Hauwa, a village where the worst of the violence took place, over 400 victims, many of whose bodies had been mutilated, were buried in a mass grave.
“Last night until this morning everybody kept vigil. Nobody slept,” Felvis Aduba, a Jos resident told the Globe and Mail.
Reactions from the rest of the world regarding the massacre include the United Nations, the United States and human rights groups urging Nigerian authoritites to make arrests and to further protect civilians.
Shehu Sani, president of Civil Rights Congress, said to the NY Times, “There are not enough functional mortuaries to take [the bodies]. It’s possibly even more than [500 deaths] because many were buried without documentation.”