Christian village in Nigeria attacked again
REUTERS March 17, 2010
Raiders armed with machetes killed at least 13 people in an attack on a village near the central Nigeria city of Jos Wednesday, close to where hundreds have died in sectarian violence this year.
A Reuters witness in the village of Byei, in the Riyom area around 30 km (20 miles) south of Jos, counted 13 bodies, most of them women, following what residents said an attack in the early hours. At least three huts were also burned in the raid.
The attack happened despite a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Plateau State which has been enforced by the military since January, when clashes between Muslim and Christian mobs killed more than 400 people, according to community leaders.
"Enough is enough. We don't want the military again," said Emmanuel Jugu, who represents Riyom in the Plateau State parliament.
"We have been observing the curfew. So how can people now come and slaughter us. The military should withdraw. We are capable of defending ourselves," he said.
The Red Cross said it had sent a team of volunteers to the village.
Plateau State, of which Jos is the capital, lies at the crossroads of Nigeria's Muslim north and Christian south, a region known as the "Middle Belt."
Fierce competition for control of fertile farmlands between Christian and animist indigenous groups and Muslim settlers from the north have repeatedly triggered unrest in the region over the past decade.
After the January unrest, violence flared again 10 days ago with attacks on the mostly Christian villages of Dogo Nahawa, Zot and Ratsat just south of Jos, in which hundreds more people are feared to have been killed.
The unrest comes at a difficult time for Nigeria, with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan trying to consolidate power while ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua, who recently returned from three months in a Saudi hospital, is too sick to govern.
Jonathan is also having to deal with resurgent unrest in the oil-producing Niger Delta, where militants Monday detonated two car bombs outside a government building.
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