NIGERIA. Survivors said the attackers were able to separate the Fulanis from members of the rival Berom group by chanting ‘nagge’, the Fulani word for cattle. Those who failed to respond in the same language were hacked to death.
UN chief and Washington led calls for restraint after the slaughter of more than 500 Christians in Nigeria, as survivors told how the killers chopped down their victims.
Funerals took place for victims of the three-hour orgy of violence on Sunday in three Christian villages close to the northern city of Jos, blamed on members of the mainly Muslim Fulani ethnic group.
Media reported that Muslim residents of the villages in Plateau state had been warned by phone text message, two days prior to the attack, so they could make good their escape before the exit points were sealed off.
Survivors said the attackers were able to separate the Fulanis from members of the rival Berom group by chanting ‘nagge’, the Fulani word for cattle. Those who failed to respond in the same language were hacked to death.
Funeral service for victims:
One local paper said the gangs shouted Allah Akhbar (God is Great) before breaking into homes and setting them alight in the early hours of Sunday. Churches were among the buildings that were burned down.
The Vatican led a wave of outrage with spokesman Federico Lombardi expressing the Roman Catholic Church’s “sadness” at the “horrible acts of violence”.
The UN chief told reporters he was “deeply concerned”. “I appeal to all the concerned to exercise maximum restraint,” he said. US Secretary of State urged “all parties to exercise restraint”, but also called on the Nigerian government to “make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
The information ministry said pregnant women were among those killed and around 200 people were being treated in hospital. “We have over 500 killed in three villages and the survivors are busy burying their dead,” said state information commissioner Gregory Yenlong.
“People were attacked with axes, daggers and cutlasses — many of them children, the aged and pregnant women.”Much of the violence was centred around the village of Dogo Nahawa, where gangs set fire to straw-thatched mud huts as they went on their rampage.
The explosion of violence is the latest between rival ethnic and religious groups. Earlier in January, 326 people died in clashes in and around Jos, according to police although rights activists put the overall toll at more than 550.
“The attack is yet another jihad and provocation,” the Plateau State Christian Elders Consulatative Forum (PSCEF) said.
The PSCEF said it took the army two hours to react from the time a distress call was put through and “the attackers had finished their job and left”. Witnesses said armed gangs had scared people out of their homes by firing into the air but most of the killings were the result of machete attacks.
“We were caught unawares and as we tried to escape, the Fulani who were already waiting, slaughtered many of us,” said Dayop Gyang, of Dogo Nahawa.
SOURCE: Wikileaks – https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/31/313042_-os-nigeria-ct-fulani-tactics-in-latest-jos-massacre-weeded.html [edited]
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