Nigeria: Birom Christian Youth Revenge Attacks Raise Jos Death Toll To 200; Boko Haram Laughs
July 10th, 2012
NewsRescue– The intractable Berom-Fulani war in Jos, Nigeria has reached a new escalation this weekend, as attacks and counter attacks have destroyed the illusive peace in Jos.
According to the Christian Science Monitor:
On Saturday, Sen. Gyang Dantong and House Assemblyman Hon. Gyang Fulani attended the mass funeral of Christian villagers murdered in the town of Matse, and were themselves killed by gunmen.
The death toll of 63 (many of their bodies discovered in the home of a Christian pastor) in the central city of Jos would have made this weekend one of the deadliest of the year thus far. But then the reprisal attacks by Christian villagers against their Muslim neighbors – apparently carried out by youth from the Birom indigenous ethnic group – raised the toll to more than 200.
The Nigerian government has responded by ordering a dusk-to-dawn curfew, but Jacob Abba, a sociologist at the University of Jos, says that the killing wave is so alarming that “no one can tell when this madness will end.”
According to reports available to P.M.News, the counter attacks by Birom youths may have jacked the death toll to over 200. The youths were said to have embarked on their own SinParty of violence last night killing all persons identified to be either Hausa or Fulani within Riyom and Barkin ladi and those on transit through Plateau major highways from Abuja and Kaduna .
To contain further killings and spread of the violence to parts of the state , Plateau state government has further extended the 6pm-6am curfew imposed yesterday , Sunday to 6pm-12noon from today, thus leaving residents only four hours to move around .
P.M News sources, further revealed that the violence at the weekend was a culmination of a chain of events that started Tuesday, when the Fulani herdsmen accused the security men of destroying their houses and dispersing them from the area.
More tension brewed after the Birom community last Friday blamed the Fulani of destroying their farms and staged a peaceful demonstration demanding compensation.
The full scale violence erupted on Saturday 7 July, after the Fulani accused the Berom natives of violently assaulting them.
Here is a report from DailyTrust on July 4th, on the JTF burning of Fulani houses
July 4th, 2012: STF burn over 50 Fulani houses in Barkin Ladi, provoking crises
Several houses were on Tuesday reported to have been burnt in the Fulani neighbourhood of Kakuru village in Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau State after yet to be identified persons said to be residents of the village killed a member of the STF and seized his weapon.
The Plateau State Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACB), Muh’d Nuru Abdullahi, told Daily Trust yesterday that members of his association in Kakuru said the arson was perpetuated by members of the STF who concluded that the killing of the STF member was done by Fulani residents of the area.
“Very early this morning, soldiers and policemen of the STF stormed Fulani residences of Kakuru village and started burning and demolishing houses,” Abdullahi said, adding, “they have burnt not less than 50 houses; some of them demolished, although I can’t ascertain the number for now because all the Fulani residents had to run from the village for the safety of their lives”.
He said it was bad of the STF to have concluded that it was Fulani people that killed their member since the STF had no proof to that effect.
Responding to the charge last night, the STF spokesman, Captain Salisu Mustapha, told Daily Trust that STF neither reached the conclusion that its official was killed by Fulani men nor did it destroy any Fulani house.
“One of our men, Corporal Friday Babale, a mobile policeman, was killed and ammunition taken from him by unidentified persons and we went to the village (Kakuru) in the morning to ascertain what happened and see if we could recover the seized items but there is no way we could have destroyed houses because it would be too unprofessional for us to do so,” Mustapha said.
He said the STF did find a hut that was burnt, but that the STF had not found out the circumstances leading to the burning of the huts because the whole village had been deserted by the time the STF got there.
He disclosed that three people had been arrested in connection with the killing of Corporal Friday Babale and that investigation had commenced.
Neglected Jos crises, an opportunity for terrorists; Boko goes for image repair
Eyewitnesses described the two weekend attacks as highly sophisticated, much more than possible by ordinary Fulani herdsmen, being blamed and killed for it. The attackers were clad in army uniforms, complete with bullet proof vests. And they used automatic guns with competence.
According to SaharaReporters, Nigeria’s illusive, deadly, fanatic sect, Boko Haram, a group with ambition to create and promote sectarian strife and war in Nigeria, have even claimed responsibility for the attacks that left over 80 Christians dead and resulted in the counter-deaths of an estimated over 120 Muslims.
The despised group, apparently attempting to take advantage of the genuine crises in Jos to improve their organizations image, since its staccato, senseless bombings of innocent Nigerians in Churches, government offices and other venues of recent have brought disdain and strong condemnation against the organization, from Christians and Muslims alike.
Observers describe the crises in Jos as one of major government neglect and in many cases, direct support and promotion by government agencies and officials.
The war between the Birom and Fulani herdsmen has been ongoing for several years, as Jos remains the epicenter of seeming Muslim-Christian intolerance.
But behind this deadly, resurgent war is a history of land usage and ownership feud that is continuously aggravated by the processes of urbanization.
Government failure to establish grazing reserves
The Fulani are herdsmen who graze their Cattle on available grasslands. The Berom are mostly farmers, who own a lot of land. Clashes reportedly erupt due to Fulani cattle grazing on Birom farms and drinking from Birom water sources.
The government has failed to resolve these issues and provide safe grazing reserves and arrange agreements between these two fiery groups that can plausibly prevent this mayhem.
Several unsatisfactory efforts have been made, including most recently, in June this year, a special panel with the Special Adviser to the Governor on Peace Building, Timothy Parlong, in collaboration with James and Elizabeth Pam Foundation and Nuhu Ribadu, the former EFCC boss also a part, who met with these two clashing groups.
In the meeting, reported here, the Fulani herdsmen declared that they will only relent if the Birom stopped attacking and killing the Fulani herdsmen, women and children and returned or paid compensation for the over 300 cattle the Berom had stolen in an ambush in Bisichi, Jos South Local Government, August 2011, when the Berom reportedly killed a Fulani herdsman and a Fulani youth and stole 400 Cattle. 40 out of the 400 were recovered after the incident. See: 2 killed, 400 cows stolen in Fulani settlement – Nigerian Tribune
The Birom reacted with complaint that the Fulani grazed on their farms and took the cattle to drink from their water sources, leading to muddying of their drinking water.
Related: NewsRescue–Fulani Attack: Demand Berom Stop Attacks, Return Stolen Cows or Pay Compensation
A resolution or plan for it, has yet to be made, but with the recent killings and counter killings, the crises is begging for serious government attention, including a promise of security and compensation for painful losses to livelihood incurred on both sides.
Christian monopoly running Jos government and police is dangerous – Jingir
The National Chairman of Jama’atu Izalatul Bidi’ah wa ikamatu Sunnah (JIBWIS), Sheikh in Jos, Sani Jingir complained this June, that the entire Police chiefs and head of government in Jos are all Christians, and this is causing increased religious tension in the state.
Jingir explained that appointing a Christian to head the General Officer Commanding the 3rd Armored Division (GOC), State Commissioner of Police, State Director of the State Security Service, the Commandant of the Civil Defense Corps, the Commander Nigerian Air Force, Secretary to the State Government, as well as the Governor of the state and his deputy is suspicious and a major cause for concern, adding that such actions bring about apprehension amongst adherents of the two religions.
Sheikh Sani Jingir himself barely escaped with his life last August when Birom Christian youth laid ambush on Muslims observing their Eid prayers, and burned over 200 vehicles, also shooting and killing Muslim men, women and children trying to escape from the prayer ground. In that event, the Birom youth in shows of solidarity and bitter anger, roasted the Muslim worshipers killed and were seen on video eating them.
Police Supervise Mob Massacres and Cannibalism in Jos
Several police cars and police officers could be seen in the video, supervising the cannibalism ceremony.
Related: NewsRescue–Birom Christians eat Roasted flesh of Muslims they Killed in Jos, Nigeria
Another View of the Jos Genocide- Gamji.com
What further confirmed the hands of the Plateau State government in the killing of Muslims during the crisis was the use of new Toyota Hillux vehicles by most of the attackers. The vehicles were said to be recently purchased by the Plateau state Government.
With normalcy now restored, what remains is the need to unearth the truth. This can only be done through the setting up of an impartial commission of inquiry. Read more on this…
The involvement of police in the mayhem in Jos has been bitterly complained about, especially by Jos Muslims who give accounts of attacks in which police Hilux vehicles are seen, and police seem to be directly involved.
The current Inspector General of police, Abubakar has also been indicted for his alleged involvement in sponsoring some militant groups.
The new IGP, AIG MD Abubakar from Zamfara State was indicted twice between 2004 and 2006 by a Jos crises Panel, and is alleged to have sponsored some Islamist Militant Group when he was Commissioner of Police in Plateau State. Read more…
It will be recalled that in January 2010, Birom youth attacked Kuru Jenta town and wiped out most inhabitants, dumping them into wells, and burned down the buildings. Over 200 people, mostly Muslims were reportedly killed in that escalation.
A cry was made on facebook as that event commenced, but as usual Nigeria law enforcement do nothing, as though in concert with the occurrences with desire to promote the war for unthinkable motives.
We are receiving terrible news from the village where Zamani Farms is located, called Kuru Jenta, on the way to Jos Airport Evidently the village has been set on fire and the Muslims in the village, including our workers some of whom are Muslims, have been surrounded and fear they are about to be executed. We have tried unsuccessfully to reach army and police authorities in Jos.
Please, if any of you in Abuja have access to any authorities who can help stop this situation we would very much appreciate it. Read more…
Similarly, during a Fulani attack, a Mr. Emmanuel Dachollom, a Christian resident, complained that he had reported the incident to the Federal Government. He said that the attackers came from Mahangar, a Fulani community. According to him, if the federal authorities had acted on his alarm, the latest incident would have been averted.
Ironically, and tragically, Hon. Gyang Fulani, of the state house of assembly, killed in this weekends attacks, had similarly given up on the government in an earlier attack he escaped from. As reported by Odili September last year:
Mr. Gyang Fulani, a member representing the area in the House of Assembly, said that the people could no longer trust government to protect them as it had failed them with the constant attacks. He regretted that the security personnel had not been able to fish out the attackers as no single arrest had been made, accusing the STF of lacking the will to stop the Jos crisis.“We said few years ago that terrorists were in the country but government didn’t take us serious.
Now, it is glaring from the security challenges all over the country.
“The terrorists in Plateau are easy to fight because they are known, but government is complacent about confronting these fundamentalists. It is a ticking time bomb that will soon explode,’’ Fulani said.
He challenged the people of his constituency to now rise up to the security threats and defend themselves against the aggressors at all cost.
“We will never calm the youths again; we will allow them rise up to protect their communities and their land from these unprovoked attacks.“We now know who the aggressors are. When police advised Izala sect leader, Sani Jingir, not to go to Rukuba Road for the Sallah prayer, he refused and had now put the whole Jos into crisis,’’ he stated.
Mr. Francis Jamang, National President, Berom Youth Movement, said the situation had reached a stage where they might be forced to take the laws into their hands if their attackers were not brought to book.
“The Berom people have now been pushed to the wall; no one should blame us for whatever action we take,” he said.
Government criminal negligence translates to intent and facilitation
The alleged government officials and politicians’ direct involvement in sponsoring and orchestrating the crises brings about an appreciation of how dangerous the problem is and how far away from resolution.
Till date a single arrest of a murderous Birom youth or marauding Fulani herdsman has not been made. This lack of culpability further facilitates the ongoing cycle of violence that is interpreted as a religious battle and fuels increased terrorism and Muslim-Christian strife nation-wide.
It is agreed that no Muslim and no Christian has the right to take an innocent life. Justice must be determined and enforced by the government. According to Muslims Against Terror, quoting from the Quran, Islam regards the taking of innocent life as equal to killing the entire humanity. However the complete government abject failure in Jos has unfortunately brought out the devilish sides of Nigeria’s religious adherents.
Unless the Nigerian government, under Goodluck Jonathan takes serious steps to control the situation, establish grazing reserves, resolve the land issues and establishes firm rules on repercussions for direct and indirect involvement in violence, Nigeria will spiral further into depths of anarchy.