by Joseph DeCaro
“They were in army uniform,” said Nnaji John, who lost her family in an attack. “I even know some of them: they came along with the Muslims to attack us. I can swear to God Almighty that the attack was carried out with the support of the soldiers. I saw them.”
Chollom Gyangof Chwelnyap confirmed that the August attack on his neighborhood was supported by Muslims of the Special Task Force.
“The attackers were the very soldiers deployed to the area to ensure protection of the people,” said Chwelnyap. He said area residents found identification cards of Muslim soldiers as well as pieces of their uniforms in the villages that were attacked.
Bitrus Kaze, representative for Jos in Nigeria’s National Assembly, said this wasn’t the first time that military ID cards and clothing have been found at the scene of sectarian attacks.
“It is a very sad testimony of the STF,” Kaze said, “and what worries me is that in spite of that grievous allegation, it appears to me that STF has not come out, at least to deny it. It is really very strange and worrisome to me that in a scene of such a heinous crime, where a family of nine was wiped out, and an allegation of this nature was leveled against the military, it says nothing about it.”
Plateau Governor Jonah Jang called for immediate withdrawal of the Nigerian army.
“I am convinced that the armed forces are being polluted with the religious crisis in the country,” Jang said. “Before now, the military personnel used to stay in the barracks, but today the armed forces have started taking sides in this religious crisis, and if they are not called to order it will be dangerous for the country.”
Alamveabee Efihraim Idyorough, a Christian who resides in the Jos suburb of Anaguta, said his neighborhood has been attacked many times in the past decade.
“Do Christian ethnic minorities not have the right to exist in Nigeria?” said Idyorough. “Are Christians not citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?”