CAFOD supports communities affected by the latest violence in Jos

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Less than two months after the January 17th 2010 violence erupted in Jos Nigeria, in which hundreds of people lost their lives, Jos once again faced the horror of mindless violence.

CAFOD has pledged £8,500 (N2 million) to assist over 500 families made homeless by the recent violence on March 7th, and who are now in desperate need of food, clean water and non-food items, such as cooking utensils, blankets, soap and mats.

Early in the morning of March 7th, the villages of Dogon Nahawa, Ratsat and Zot Foron, some 15 kilometres south of Jos city suffered a devastating attack. The villagers, who are of the Berom ethnic group and are mainly Christians, alleged that their attackers were Fulani Muslim herdsmen who swooped on them while they slept. The attack which lasted more than two hours left little chance for the victims, mainly children and women who were hacked down and burnt as they attempted to escape the massacre.

In January the aid agency pledged £12,500 to assist 2,000 people made homeless by the violence.

CAFOD’s office in Jos has been working in partnership with a coalition of ten organisations, including the local office of Justice, Development and Peace/Caritas and other faith based groups including three Muslim agencies.

Jos has repeatedly suffered from sectarian violence over the last decade. In November 2008 at least 700 people were killed in just two days of fighting.

CAFOD’s main focus in Nigeria is strengthening primary health care services, but the aid agency has also been working closely with Archbishop Kaigama of Jos to support his efforts to create peace and dialogue.

Archbishop of Jos Ignatius Kaigama said: "After each flare up, communities argue over who suffered the most. But the fact is that the victims are men and women, young and old, Christian and Muslim. Each death is a tragedy for the family concerned. All of the casualties are a tragedy for Jos, for Nigeria and for both Christianity and Islam."

"There must be concerted efforts by the state governors to address the problems permanently as most of the issues that lead to these crises are not about religion. Religion is a convenient tool used to press for demands.

"Our political leaders must address the real issues underlying the conflict. There is no denying the reality of poverty in Nigeria. Health, education and water supply services are inadequate for the needs of the poorest."

Read comment piece by Archbishop of Jos

For further information please contact Nana Anto-Awuakye on Tel: 0207 095-5560 or mobile: 07799 477 541 or e-mail nanto-awuakye@cafod.org.uk

 
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