Monday morning, some Christian youth chased away a Muslim INEC official, a Youth Corper, who had come to their area with registration materials. They chased him to an army post, set him on fire and killed him right in front of the soldiers, They also tried to attack the soldiers, who of course reacted, and two other people were killed. The area where Audu, our driver, lives shares a boundary with the neighborhood where this took place. That night, the soldiers patrolling the area told everyone not to sleep and be ready to either flee or protect themselves, as there was expectation of an attack to drive the people out of the area. So Audu and his family, as well as all of his neighbors, did not get any sleep and waited up all night. Fortunately nothing happened. But this sort of thing happens all the time here. I am afraid that it will take a very long time before things become "normal" in Jos.
This excerpt, part of a letter published on the Niger Delta Working Group blog, comes from Norma, an American whose farm supplies members of the embassy community and other expatriates with fresh vegetables and flowers in Abuja. I have met her several times.
Jos, where her farm is located, is known for its temperate climate, where vegetables and flowers grow that are not commonly found elsewhere in Nigeria. Norma is a shrewd observer as well as a practical business person. She distributes widely among her customers an electronic newsletter.
This one brings home the religious and ethnic violence in Jos, the impotence of the military’s response as well as reporting a new horror-- the butchery of an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) worker from the wrong religion. Note that the victim was a ‘youth corper,’ a member of the National Youth Corps, which means he was likely a university graduate. INEC Chairman Jega is making widespread use of youth corpers for voter registration. Note also that a mob of ‘Christian youths’ burned him to death in front of soldiers who apparently did not intervene.
She then follows with a discussion of the state of the crops. It is hard for me to get my arms around the juxtaposition of normality with horror.