Rundt 400 mennesker er drept og 5.000 såret i sammenstøt mellom kristne og muslimer i den nigerianske byen Jos. Landet befinner seg uten handlekraftig regjering. Presidenten har vært to måneder på sykehusopphold i Saudi-Arabia, og soldatene opptrer ytterst brutalt når de skal gjenopprette ro og orden. De er en del av problemet.

Clashes between Christian and Muslim mobs reignited in Jos on Sunday morning, January 17, 2010. There are conflicting reports of what triggered the violence. Civil society leaders report that it began with an argument over the rebuilding of a Muslim home destroyed in the November 2008 violence in a predominately Christian neighborhood. The Plateau State police commissioner, Greg Anyating, said the trigger was an attack by Muslim youth on Christian worshippers in the Nassarawa Gwom district of Jos, an allegation that Muslim leaders deny.

According to credible reports from civil society leaders, and national and international media, the violence was carried out by sectarian mobs armed with guns, bows and arrows, and machetes. Roving gangs are reported to have burned and looted houses, cars, and shops, as well as several churches and mosques. There are also several credible reports that the military and police used excessive force in responding to the violence.

Muslim leaders reported that 80 of the dead were taken to the central mosque in Jos on Tuesday for burial, in addition to 71 buried during the first two days of clashes. One Christian official reported that by Monday, 50 Christians had died in the violence and another 15 were killed on Tuesday. The three days of clashes have forced at least 5,000 people from their homes. On Monday the state government deployed additional military and anti-riot police units to the streets of Jos and on Tuesday morning imposed a 24-hour curfew in the city. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that gunshots could still be heard around the city in the late afternoon, and smoke was seen billowing from the worst-affected neighborhoods.

Nigeria is deeply divided along ethnic and religious lines. More than 13,500 people have died in religious or ethnic clashes since the end of military rule in 1999. In Plateau State, an unprecedented outbreak of violence in Jos claimed as many as 1,000 lives in September 2001; more than 700 people died in May 2004 in inter-communal clashes in the town of Yelwa in the southern part of the state; and at least 700 people were killed in the violence in Jos on November 28 and 29, 2008.

Nigeria: Use Restraint in Curbing Jos Violence