Sunday, September 11, 2011


Sun News
10 September 2011

•The untold story, the deaths, agony

Monday, August 29 began with a bustle in Jos, Plateau State. Members of the Izala group, an Islamic sect, trooped to the Eid ground located in Christian-dominated area. Then, the perceived effrontery by the Izala sect members to “cross” the boundary exploded into a tumble. What began like a holy meeting, to end the Ramadan fasting season, turned into a violent clash. And before the residents of Jos could recover from what was, initially, thought to be an isolated case, the entire city was on fire.

Soldiers, angry like hungry lions, rolled out tanks, while mobile policemen turned their barrels at the direction of rampaging youths. The crisis left in its wake blood, corpses, charred remains of burnt cars and rubbles. That week seemed to be hectic for residents, as grief filled the air.

At first, the crisis looked like a war scene. A thick cloud of smoke from burning cars, which mingled with dust permeated the cold morning air. When the smoke and the dust had settled, an exodus of people began. It was a pitiable sight: women in the area scrambled for what they could salvage, crying children tried to locate their parents and harassed husbands also began to search for their wives and children.

That scenario was replicated in Zagaleo village, on the outskirts of Jos, along the busy Jos-Bauchi road. The attacks had the tales that were not comforting. On each occasion, when calm returned, government would promise to fish out the perpetrators for punishment, a vow it has never fulfilled.

For the security agents, this is not a time to propose a toast or to pop champagne. The government, on its part, is having a huge problem containing the excesses of men in military uniform, hiding under the cover of maintaining security. ...

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