2010 Jos riots

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2010 Jos riots
Locator Map Jos-Nigeria.png
Location of Jos in Nigeria
Location Jos, Nigeria
Coordinates 9°56′N 8°53′E / 9.933°N 8.883°E / 9.933; 8.883Coordinates: 9°56′N 8°53′E / 9.933°N 8.883°E / 9.933; 8.883
Date 17 January 2010 (2010-01-17)
Attack type
religious rioting
Deaths 992

The 2010 Jos riots were clashes between Muslim and Christian ethnic groups in central Nigeria near the city of Jos. The area has been plagued by violence for the past twenty years motivated by multiple factors.[1] The clashes have been characterised as "religious violence" by many news sources,[2][3] although others cite ethnic and economic differences as the root of the violence.[1] The Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin A. Kwashi stated, "What seems to be a recurring decimal is that over time, those who have in the past used violence to settle political issues, economic issues, social matters, intertribal disagreements, or any issue for that matter, now continue to use that same path of violence and cover it up with religion."[4]

The first spate of violence of 2010 started on 17 January and lasted at least four days. Houses, churches, mosques and vehicles were set ablaze during the fighting.[5] At least 200 people were killed.[6]

Hundreds of people died in fresh clashes in March 2010. According to the New York Times, the slaughtered villagers were mostly Christians, slain by machete attacks from the Hausa-Fulani, a group of Muslim herdsmen.[7] Hundreds more left the scene of the attack in case the perpetrators returned.



Jos is the capital of Plateau State, in the middle of the divide between the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria and the predominately Christian south.[8] More than 5,000 people have been displaced in the violence. Reports on the catalyst vary. According to the state police commissioner, skirmishes began after Muslim youths set a Catholic church, filled with worshippers, on fire.[9] Other community leaders say it began with an argument over the rebuilding of a Muslim home in a predominantly Christian neighbourhood that had been destroyed in the November 2008 riots.[6] A 24-hour curfew was imposed on the city on 17 January 2010,[10] and Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan ordered troops to Jos to restore order.[11] Vice-President Jonathan currently holds executive authority, as President Umaru Yar'Adua was in Saudi Arabia receiving medical treatment from November 2009 until his return on 24 February 2010 with current medical and governmental status as yet unclear.[12][13] By 19 January 2010, at least 50 people had been arrested.[14]

On 20 January 2010, the BBC reported the fighting had spread to Pankshin, 100 km from Jos. These reports have been denied by the Army.[15] Figures provided by medical and aid officials, religious and community leaders as well as global rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) put the death toll in the clashes at 492. HRW, quoting figures it got from Muslim officials, said that 364 of those killed were Muslims.[5] The state police command said that there were 326 deaths and 313 arrests.[16]

This is the third major incident of rioting in Jos in the last ten years. One thousand people were killed in riots in 2001, and 300 died in subsequent violence in 2008.[17]


Before dawn on 7 March 2010, more than one hundred Christian villagers were killed by Muslim Hausa-Fulani herders in Dogo-Nahawa village near Jos.[18][19] The attacks went on for four hours,[20] and nearby villages were also targeted.[21] Guns were fired by the perpetrators to cause panic and led to villagers running towards them to be chopped up by machetes.[18] The villagers were mainly Berom Christians.[22] Buildings were also set alight.[22] Most of the dead were women and children.[18] One of the dead was an infant less than three months of age.[20] Corpses were dumped in the streets.[20] Goodluck Jonathan urged that the killers be caught.[19] The death toll was later updated to more than 300[23] and later 500.[24] Hundreds more left the village in case the attackers returned.[25]


Both Muslim and Christian youth have been blamed for starting the violence, with various reasons given.[13] According to a local paper, attackers yelled "Allahu Akhbar" before burning down churches and homes. The Vatican has expressed outrage and sadness. The Plateau State Christian Elders Consultative Forum said that the attack was "yet another jihad and provocation".[26]

The significance of religious differences has been questioned with the roles of social, economic, and tribal differences also considered. An ethnic rivalry between the Hausa and Berom peoples may be a factor in the violence. However, this simplistic assertion is challenged because most ethnic groups in Plateau, who are predominantly Christian share the same sentiments with the Berom, and collectively see an Islamic threat in their own lands.[27] The archbishop of the capital Abuja said that it was "a classic conflict between pastoralists and farmers, except that all the Fulani are Muslims and all the Berom are Christians."[26] Professor Kabiru Mato of the University of Abuja also played down the role of religion in the riots: "I don't see anything religious. Wherein religion could be the difference between the two warring factions, fundamentally it's a manifestation of economic alienation. So social apathy, political frustration, economic deprivation and so many factors are responsible." But this view has also been challenged by the fact places of worship like Churches have always been the targets of these riots for whatever root reason. So religion is a galvanising force in the crisis no matter what the initial cause of conflict.[28] <Quote ref>"The Beroms have been accused of resenting the economic progress of other settler groups: yet, this is another simplistic assertion. Most Plateau natives collectively feel they do not have the Federal connections or patronage other major ethnic groups have. And most Nigerian wealth has been driven by oil money. The Beroms and other Plateau natives are predominantly farmers and have had to experience their lands taken away and degraded by tin mining. Now, they have to contend with migrant groups who use Federal influence and wealth to displace them from their own lands. The massive structure of the Federal Government is fuelled primarily by oil money. The Beroms, as well as other Plateau natives, feel they should have a measure of autonomy in their core lands just the way Native Americans in their homesteads are treated as a Sovereign nation, elevated to the status of a protected minority. Nigeria's constitution has no place for respecting the rights of minorities, whether it is Jos, or the Niger Delta."[29]

There is also the issue of discrimination against the mainly Muslim "settlers" of Jos, even if they have been living in the city for decades. This further accentuates divisions in the city. While the mainly Christian indigenous population are classified as "indigenes," the mainly Muslim immigrants to Jos are classified as "settlers" and find it difficult to stand for election- among other things.[30]


  Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI said this was "atrocious" and "Violence does not resolve conflicts but only increases the tragic consequences".[31]

The "Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project" wrote to the International Criminal Court, asking them to investigate the riots for potential crimes against humanity. The prosecutor replied in November 2010 saying the situation is being analysed by the prosecutor to see if a case should be opened.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "'Hundreds dead' in Nigeria attack". BBC News. 8 March 2010. Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Nigeria religious riots 'kill 200' in Jos". BBC News. 20 January 2010. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Baldauf, Scott (8 March 2010). "Nigeria violence: Muslim-Christian clashes kill hundreds". BBC News. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Kwashi, Benjamin (8 March 2010). "In Jos We Are Coming Face to Face in Confrontation with Satan". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Curfew relaxed in Nigeria's violence-wracked city: army". Jos. Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 28 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Gambrell, Jon (20 January 2010). "Group: More than 200 dead in Nigeria violence". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 January 2010. [dead link]
  7. ^ Nossiter, Adam (8 March 2010). "Toll From Religious and Ethnic Violence in Nigeria Rises to 500". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Nossiter, Adam (19 January 2010). "Christian-Muslim Mayhem in Nigeria Kills Dozens". The New York Times (New York, NY). Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Associated, The (18 January 2010). "World Briefing – Africa – Nigeria – Religious Violence Kills 27". The New York Times (Nigeria). Archived from the original on 23 January 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "Plateau governor invokes 24-hour curfew". Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "Jonathan orders troops to Jos religious crisis". Archived from the original on 22 January 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  12. ^ McConnell, Tristan (7 January 2010). "Prove you are alive: clamour for missing Nigerian leader to show his face". London: Times (UK). Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  13. ^ a b McConnell, Tristan (19 January 2010). "Nigerian Army ordered in as 200 die in Christian-Muslim riots". The Times (London, UK). Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  14. ^ "THISDAY ONLINE / Nigeria news / African views on global news". Thisdayonline.com. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "Nigeria riot city under control, says army chief". London: BBC News. 20 January 2010. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  16. ^ Awolusi, Bunmi (26 January 2010). "We know culprits of Jos crisis, say police – The Guardian". Nigerian Bulletin. Retrieved 26 January 2010. [dead link]
  17. ^ Saka, Ahmed (19 January 2010). "Religious violence erupts again in central Nigeria". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 22 January 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2010. [dead link]
  18. ^ a b c "Central Nigeria clashes lead to 'scores of deaths'". BBC News. 7 March 2010. Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  19. ^ a b "Acting president orders 'roving band of killers' to be apprehended". France 24. 7 March 2010. Archived from the original on 10 April 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c Adam Nossiter (7 March 2010). "Clashes Kill Dozens in Central Nigeria". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  21. ^ Obateru, Taye; Eyoboka, Sam; Salem, Tordue (7 March 2010). "Jos boils again". Vanguard Media. Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  22. ^ a b "Officials: Attack on Nigerian town kills more than 100". CNN. 7 March 2010. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  23. ^ Shuaibu Mohammed (7 March 2010). "UPDATE 5-Up to 300 feared dead in central Nigeria clashes". Reuters. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  24. ^ "Nigeria religious clashes 'kill 500' near Jos". BBC. 8 March 2010. Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  25. ^ "Christians slaughtered in Nigeria". The New Zealand Herald. 7 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. [dead link]
  26. ^ a b Abubakar, Aminu (8 March 2010). "Appeals for calm after Nigerian sectarian slaughter". Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 14 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. [dead link]
  27. ^ Burgis, Tom (26 January 2010). "Ethnic rivalries fuel Nigeria violence". Financial Times (Jos). Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  28. ^ Butty, James (19 January 2010). "Nigerian Professor Says Latest Jos Violence a Result of Many Factors". Voice of America News. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  29. ^ The Economist, 11 March 2010 article "Another massacre in Nigeria: An unending cycle."
  30. ^ Duffield, Caroline (12 March 2010). "No end to Nigeria cycle of violence". BBC News. Archived from the original on 18 March 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  31. ^ "Pope denounces Nigeria clashes". Straits Times (Singapore). 11 March 2010. Archived from the original on 15 March 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  32. ^ ICC is Analysing Jos Crisis, Says Prosecutor, Daily Trust, 8 November 2010