New Violence in Nigeria Strains Fragile Peace

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In late July the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that deadly clashes between the ethnic groups in central Nigeria are causing increased numbers of villagers to flee for safety into the surrounding region. Hundreds of people have been internally displaced in neighboring villages.

The report states that, since June, a number of people have been killed in land disputes between the groups. In July nine people were killed when militia soldiers fired on a crowded minibus near Takum.

John Orkar, Nigeria country consultant for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, who is based in Jos, asks for prayers for peace in the area. “Pray that the involvement of God-fearing people in the Nigerian government will curb the vices that characterize the nation’s polity,” Orkar says. “Pray for full equipping and provision for our teams here in Nigeria. Pray for peace in Takum.”

Orkar and CRWRC Field Consultant Bulus Ali, currently in Takum, report that church and government representatives in the area are working together to end the violence.

“The peace committees have been working on this continually, sometimes at risk of harm to themselves,” said CRWRC West Africa Team Leader Mary Crickmore. “The core problem is that people retaliate disproportionately to a provocation, and the retaliation escalates—until it spirals into mobs of people who get out of control, burn, and kill.”

Several agencies, including CRWRC, the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice and Hunger Action, the Reformed Ecumenical Council, and Christian Reformed World Missions, participated in the Takum Peace Process in Nigeria during a previous violent outbreak in the mid-1990s.

“The current violence needs to be stopped before whole communities are destroyed, as happened in Takum in 1997-98,” Crickmore said. (CRWRC)

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