Martyred In Jos, pt. 3
March 04, 2010
"This picture (below) is our pastor's house that was burned down. We continue to crave your prayers for us in the city of Jos, Nigeria. Our school has been reopened but things are just dull. Two members of our community were killed, a student and a husband of one of our staff. Many people have left Jos permanently, because Islamic terrorism is unbearable. The end is not in sight. It's difficult to love Muslims but, by the grace of Christ, I still went to look for Mohammed - the Muslim I had picked up in my car and to whom I started sharing the gospel. I couldn't find him. I may not find out what happened to him since some Muslims lost their lives in the mayhem too." - author's identity concealed for security
HOW IT BEGAN
Stefanos Foundation, in an effort to ascertain the cause(s) of the crisis, led a combined team of security and media men to Jos Jarawa, where the crisis purportedly started. The intension was to come up with an unbiased “on the spot” assessment of the situation that will help bring a clearer understanding for better judgment. The team met with eye witnesses and victims who recounted their ordeals.
Various accounts reveal that one Kabiru NEPA (as he is called in the area), a staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), brought in over 200 Muslim men to rebuild his house on Sunday, January 17, 2010.
Kabiru’s house is one of those burnt during the November 28, 2008 crisis; it is situated on one of the streets at Gindin - Atili, behind Great Commission Movement Ministry compound in Jos Jarawa area. This was the street that was mostly affected during the November, 2008 crisis which left no building standing in the area, both of Non-Muslims and Muslims alike.
Kabiru’s house among the 2008 ruins (top);
destroyed homes where the purported violence occurred (below)
Kabiru’s house is next to the one burnt down with people who came from Lagos to attend a wedding on November 29, 2008. It has been over a year that these building have remained in ruins. Kabiru is the first to attempt rebuilding in this area and this would have been the only house rebuilt when many belonging to non - Muslims still remain in ruins.
This investigation later discovered that Mallam Kabiru did not bring this project to the notice of the village head (below). According to the village head, if he was informed, he could have made it known to all that Muslim men would be working in the area.
Village head of Gindin Atili
Two hundred muslim men arriving on a Sunday morning is not a common sight in this area And since the last crisis, this certainly raised the tension in the area, he said.
The builders working at the site did not help matters. A report has it that they kept chanting intimidating noise, referring to Non-Muslims as “Arna” (meaning infidels) knowing they may likely not support the reconstruction. The Non-Muslims in the area suffered so many losses in the last crisis and have not been able to rebuild their ruins.
Tension mounted in the area and got out of control when the driver of the lorry hauling sand to the site got into a quarrel with one of the non – Muslims in the area. This attracted the Muslim workers and later resulted in attacks on any non-Muslim nearby and a woman, Anna Ayuba, was badly injured.
Mrs. Anna Ayuba's head injury Mrs. Anna Ayuba tells her story
Unknown to all, the loud chants of “Allah a’khabar” had attracted other Muslims to the area and worshippers in an ECWA Church, about 500 meters away, were attacked. The violence escalated in Yan-shanu and Congo Russia and got out of control with reports of fake soldiers appearing in these areas. This resulted in the blood shed experienced in Jos and later, its environs.
Stefanos Foundation gathered that when Law Enforcement arrived earlier at the heat of the incident, they could not do much to forestall the violence. An eye witness reported that when the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3rd Armored Division of the Nigerian Army, Jos, came to investigate the matter while inspecting the burnt down church, gun shots came from the nearby Muslim settlement, bringing down three Christian youths. The gunman was apprehended and handed over to the GOC but, in the presence of the villagers, the man was set free. This made the villagers lose faith in the security operatives.
Rev. Samuel Daji Riga of ECWA church, Jos Jarawa (below, in front of what remains of his church) whose members were attacked in church and the church building was completely burnt and partly demolished. He reliably informed Stefanos that...
"I was still preaching in church that Sunday morning when one of the members of the church Boys Brigade rushed in to draw the attention of one of my elders outside, the elder quickly ran back to inform me of an impending attack by the Muslims. I immediately cut off my sermon and closed the service to enable our members to return to their homes or any safe place. Unfortunately for us, before we could vacate the church premises, the attackers had arrived with their weapons. In a bid to escape, some of our members were injured by gun shots from the assailants. They later set the church ablaze and utterly destroyed everything in the church including the motor-bike of a member."
At the time of this report, we found an inscription boldly written on the wall of the church building - "Islam is 4 peace" and "Islam is the best"
With the influx of Muslims from the Northern states coming into Jos with supremacist ideologies looking down on non-Muslims as infidels, no wonder such things keep happening. This was revealed by the interview conducted by Stefanos foundation of one of the Muslim victims receiving treatment in one of the hospitals. The victim said he and twenty-five others from Jigawa state were brought in and lodged in a house in Angwan Rogo and given motorcycles to operate around in Jos.
Mrs. Anna Yakubu, a victim of the unfortunate incident, told Stefanos that her son returned home after church service through the aforementioned construction site reporting that the workers at the site were busy chanting Allah Akbar. Given their behavior, he suspected something may go wrong.
It was not long when they heard the voice of the man who had just left their home yelling for them to run. While attempting to do so, she was attacked with a stone tot her forehead; she fell to the ground with blood all over her face. And her son, Ajik, could not escape the bullets of the assailants, being shot in the face. They are both receiving medical attention at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH).
Stefanos also interviewed Danjuma Mohammed, a Muslim, who was among those who were working on the construction site that day.
He said a tipper truck brought in sand to the site but, in an attempt to go for more sand, the driver had problems with Non-Muslims in the area. The issue was resolved, but another group, playing football about 500 meters from the site, heard the chants of ‘Allah Akbar’ from the builders; and they saw it as a call for war and attacked the church nearby, which is the ECWA Church.
The situation that happened in Jos Jarawa on Sunday was quelled down on Monday, January 18, 2010 and it looked like that was the end of it. But with the news spreading, similar reactions sparked up at Bukuru where Muslims set ablaze an Assemblies of God church, an ECWA church around Gularandong and looted shops belonging to Christians.
Non-Muslims also reported Muslims burning their houses at Bisichi and Fan in Barkin Ladi LGA. The conflict which has always been tolerated on religious grounds, soon turned chaotic, leaving the locals struggling to defend and protect their settlements. Similar attacks were later reported at Gyero Village, Kuru village near Hipang and Rahol-Kana (Ungwar Doki) near TCNN. Also reported were those of Pankshin and Mangu on Wednesday January 20, 2010 and Thursday, January 21, 2010 respectively.
At the time of this report, mass burials had been carried out by government on Wednesday and Thursday, and as such, it is difficult to ascertain the number of casualties or deaths. However, many were seen receiving treatment at JUTH, Plateau Hospital and ECWA Evangel Hospital among others.
- Stefanos Foundation Response Team.