11 People Killed, Churches Destroyed in a Wave of Violence in Nigeria

Bauch; Nigeria: A wave of violence that has swept the Buachi city in the central Nigeria has resulted to the death of no fewer than 11 people and the destruction of about eight vicarages, while several Christian homes were destroyed.

According to a report from the religious rights charity, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) hundreds of Christians are now homeless and a curfew has been declared in order to forestall further destruction of live and property.

The report said that violence broke out in February after a mosque was set alight in Bauchi's Railway suburb adding that troops were quickly deployed to restore order and a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed across seven neighborhoods.

It noted that the action of the security operatives notwithstanding attacks on the Christian community continued and that at least one person was killed as a result of that incidents.“About 4,500 people were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge at two army barracks in the city.”

In a quick response the Release International has sent funds to its Nigerian partner, the Stefanos Foundation, to help provide toilet facilities, food, clothes and bedding for 200 of the people worst affected by the riots.

It needs to be observed that some sources have linked the Bauchi riots to a local dispute between a church in Railway suburb and Muslims attending a nearby mosque – a row apparently triggered by the Christians' decision not to let Muslims park on church land.

But however several other reports have linked the riots to events in Jos in the neighboring central Nigerian state of Plateau last November, where hundreds of people were killed when inter-communal unrest broke out after local elections that resulted to the death of about 300 Muslims.

It would be recalled that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the umbrella body for all Christian denominations in Nigeria had in the time past taken a critical look at the incessant attacks on the Christian community at any slightest provocation.

In one of such statements, it said: “We must remind the nation that Christians have always been at the receiving end each time a call for jihad is made. In our short history, Christians are known to have been massacred, their property destroyed and their churches razed in Kafanchan, Zaria, Kaduna, Bauchi, Jos and Kano, several times.”

It went further to state: “At no point has the Church ever initiated any of these crises. Its not because of cowardice or lack of knowledge of what to do, but because our religion expects us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to be at peace with all people so much so that when we are smacked on the left cheek we turn the right cheek.”

“But now we warn, let no one take this for granted any longer because, there is a limit to which you can push a people. Christians have been pushed to the wall in this country and we are making it clear that Christians have no other place to call their own except this same country, Nigeria,” the statement also said.