Monday, January 25, 2010

On the massacre at Kuru Jenta and elsewhere..

In the Sunday Trust here.

I also received this disturbing email from an expat working in Plateau State:

"I am very worried about two points in the aftermath. First is that it appears that all attention is focused on Kuru Jenta and other places are forgotten. Second is the Christian fundamentalism that is now turning events around. My husband and I have been busy informing relatives and well-wishers that the victims were moslem and the killers were supposed to be christians. It just does not sink in!

Even my Swedish neighbour gave me a report of the event that just occurred behind her house which left me open-mouth. As if she was asked to close her eyes and write a tragic fairy tale.

Jos Crisis

I think many saw the Aljezeera report on the massacre at Kuru Jenta. This event was publicised because my friend Norma who farms there tried to sensitise the public opinion.

It is important that international and national communities realise that this was not an isolated incident!!! This was a military-like operation planned to hit as many as possible isolated moslem communities.

I would like to mention few facts about the pattern of moslem migration to the Plateau.

Almost all the markets and surrounding towns in central- north Nigeria were created by the Hausa /Fulani initially for slave trade later for marketing of other valuable commodities like tin and ginger.

The Hausas could then be considered a colonial power and even in current times would like to assert political and economic dominance. The descendants of these immigrant live in the centre of the towns. In their mist there is a large number of untrained and unemployed youth which can be easily mastered by their leaders to destabilise the system.

A different migration occurred in the tin mining areas: when the British companies could not get the locals to slave for them, labourers from the far north, particularly Borno, were brought in. Villages were established to accommodate these people. Kuru Jenta was one of these villages. Nowadays the dwellers are a mixture of various ethnicities, but Islam prevails. They were brought-in in a slave-like condition and their descendants generally have no ambitions and political aspirations.

The difference between these two sets of moslem communities may explain the disparity between riots in Jos and violence in the villages.

Tuesday 22nd January 2010.

We got up early. I despatched the car which was carrying our farm produce to Abuja. My husband went with a veterinary colleague to treat some herds of cattle after Manchok. I went to Miango.

In Miango I was told that trouble had erupted again in Jos, but here in this magical landscape we had the impression that peace will always prevail. It took long to come back to Vom from Miango because the villagers had blocked the roads every 20 m. But thanks to the colour of my skin they were quite courteous. At every stops I saw tens of youth appear all painted red ochre (the re army) armed with knives and clubs marching towards Vom.

Still I was not worried because I believed it would end in a carnival-like show. My thoughts were with my husband who would not have the advantage of my somatic features to pass through road blocks ( his journey home was an ordeal).

As entered the house I received a call from a friend: she could see from afar Sabon Gida Kanan (another miners’ settlement) burning. From what I was told it was a replica of what happened at Kuru Jenta.

Meanwhile the ‘’red army’’ which I had seen marching in the field reached Vom. Here they had a detailed list of all moslem properties and they burn all, one by one, and, if the men had not managed to escape they were killed. Children who did not dare to come out of the houses were left to burn.

Fortunately many managed to find refuge at the police station and in The National Veterinary Research Institute. But even the institute became a victim of the violence….’’the red army again had a detailed list of all moslem staff living in the quarters. Here too they went from house to house either burning the whole building or removing the properties and car and burning these only.

The Director of the Institute tried courageously to assist the refugees, despite threats by (according to rumours) the chief of Vom. When possible and safe she organised evacuation of the refugees outside the state.

This ‘’mission massacre’’ appear to have taken place at the same time and with the same pattern in many isolated moslem communities in the high plateau. Few chiefs, like the one of Barikan Ladi, resisted pressure from the top and maintained peace.

But how many?

This was a genocide!

Will the person responsible be punished?"


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