Nigerian violence flares: 510feared dead

 Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com, TheBlack Business Journal and NigeriaCentral.com

September 13, 2001- ARMED mobs went on the rampage in two Nigeriancities on Wednesday in clashes between Christians and Muslims and anewspaper reported at least 500 people had died in five days ofviolence. Clashes which erupted on Friday in the central city of Josbetween rampaging gangs of Christian and Muslim youths flared againon Wednesday after a day of calm, health workers and residentssaid.

"Renewedfighting broke out this morning in the Nassarawa district," of Jos,said the acting secretary-general of the Nigerian Red Cross, AbiodunOrebiyi. Dead and wounded had been taken to hospitals sufferingmachete and gunshot wounds, he said, declining to give firmfigures.

A Nigerian newspaper, the state-run Daily Times, reported onWednesday that more than 500 victims of the violence in Jos had beengiven a mass burial, after dark, late on Monday.

The bodies were taken to the Zaria Road cemetery in three trucksby heavily armed soldiers and buried under supervision of governmentofficials.

The area was cordoned off to prevent news of the toll emerging andsparking reprisals, the paper said. Officials on Wednesday September12, 2001 declined to comment on the toll - the highest yet advancedfor the violence - though Biodun confirmed that a "very large" massburial had taken place.

Meanwhile, the new fighting in Jos continued into Friday,September 14. "It is getting bad now in Jos. The Muslims haveregrouped and they are fighting," said a Christian resident reachedby phone who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"More houses are getting burned. More people are getting killed,"said the man who would give his name only as Oliver. "Things aregetting tough. The tension is very high. Soldiers are patrolling andfiring in the air to bring the situation under control," a policeofficial said.

At the same time, violence also erupted in the northern city ofKano where hundreds of Muslim youths attacked two churches overnightand set ablaze the house of a Christian man, in an apparent responseto the violence in Jos.

The Holy Trinity Catholic Church and the Overcomers SanctuaryPentecostal Church in the Shagari Quarters district of Kano, wereboth attacked overnight, the church leaders reported.

Catholic catechist Casmir Ogunma said the Holy Trinity church hadbeen razed and the priest's residence set ablaze by youths angered bythe events in Jos. Police had cordoned off the area around the churchWednesday and would not allow news agencies to visit the site.

Pastor Seyi Oluwasola of the Overcomes Sanctuary, who showed theAFP correspondent in Kano round the premises, said a mob of Muslimyouths had attacked the church, destroyed instruments and religiousbooks. "If it were not for the intervention of the police thesituation would have been worse, he said.

James Enoch, a Christian, said he was leaving the city. "I can'tlive here any more. These youths are dangerous. They promised to comeback and said when they come back nobody will be spared," he said.-

To far north of Jos, thehistoric city of Kano faced its own violence with a church set onfire, allegedly by Muslim youths. James Alalade, a pastor of theburnt church in Kano, told Reuters "They just came in with theirweapons and petrol in cans and asked everybody out before setting thechurch ablaze. ...they were heavily armed."
The Jos conflict are said to reflect clashes between Christians andMuslims and communal squabbles. Thousands flee for safety against thebackground of the introduction of the Islamic Sharia law into thepenal codes of some northern states. At least 1000 people wereinjured in Jos, the hospitable city of four million people.
USAfricaonline with AFPreport.


USAfrica VIEWPOINT
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come.... By Chido Nwangwu


AFRICAN LEADERS CONDEMN ATTACKS ON WTC TOWERS, PENTAGON BY TERRORISTS.
In the aftermath of the terror hits which took down World Trade Center in New York, destroyed parts of the Pentagon in Washington DC., and left thousands decimated and charred, African leaders have been expressing their condemnation of the attacks. Among them, Kenya's President Daniel arap Moi condemned it as "this heinous and evil apparently co-ordinated act of terrorism." In 1998, the bombing of the U.S embassy in his country's capital, Nairobi, left more than 200 dead. On his part, Tanzania Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete said "we feel and understand what the Americans must be experiencing."
Islamic Youth Organization in Zamfara in northern Nigeria has a different view as their leader told BBC's Ibrahim Dosara the attacks offer U.S some payback for its actions in the Middle East.
The World Igbo Congress (WIC), based in the U.S., has informed USAfricaonline.com that the it considers the attacks on the U.S. as "sadistic and devious." Its newly-elected chairman, Dr. Kalu Kalu Diogu, said during the USAfricaonline.com exclusive interview, "there is no justification for such wanton decimation of innocent lives. It is simply wrong and unacceptable."
USAfricaonline.com and
NigeriaCentral.com can also confirm that a handful of Nigerians and Africans do business and work at the World Trade Center. But no deaths and major injuries involving any continental African have been announced. Send such information to newsroom@USAfricaonline.com

U.S. UNDER ALERT AS NATION BEGINS TO MOURN, BUSH SAYS COUNTRY IS UNSHAKEN.
President Bush says America remains unshaken by what he called "acts of war." Pentagon which lost hundreds of its members and the certain death of the passengers in the hijacked plane has also announced that military jets will fly the skies over New York and Washington for the next several days.
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AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
STEALS AND DEALS: How Marc Rich made billions from Nigeria's Oil. Through an elaborate network of carrots and sticks and a willing army of Nigeria's soldiers and some civilians, controversial global dealer and billionaire Marc Rich, literally and practically, made deals and steals; yes, laughed his way to the banks from crude oil contracts, unpaid millions in oil royalties and false declarations of quantities of crude lifted and exported from Nigeria for almost 25 years. Worse, he lifted Nigeria's oil and shipped same to then embargoed apartheid regime in South Africa. Our Special News Investigation report by Chido Nwangwu examines the Marc Rich shenanigans in Nigeria and beyond.
DIPLOMACY and ECONOMICS
Bush-Kabila-Powell meeting in Washington D.C. offer Congo good signal for renewing U.S-Africa relations. Democratic Republic of Congo's leader Joseph Kabila, a shy 31-year-old soldier, became one of the very first world leaders to meet with U.S. president George W. Bush, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, on Thursday January 31, 2001. In this USAfricaonline.com special report, we offer insight on the issues in the Congo, its implications for the United States, the Bush international relations team and Mandela's challenge for all to work on a structure of peace to stabilize the region.
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Black History Giants and Quotes:
"Our struggle is a struggle of the African people. It is a struggle for the right to live. I have dedicated my life to this struggle. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live and to see realised. But, my lord if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die"Nelson Mandela making his last moving speech in court before he was sentenced by the racist apartheid regime in South Africa to life imprisonment in 1964. He later became president in May 1994.
INSIGHT
Africa's Looming Tragedy: an appeal for preventive action in Nigeria
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