HUNDREDS OF CHRISTIANS DIE IN BLOODY MASSACRES IN KANO.
13 May 2004
NIGERIA. Many hundreds of innocent Christians have died in Kano since a Muslim protest turned into carnage in retaliation for Muslim deaths hundreds of miles away in Yelwe.
Members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) say some 600 Christians have been killed so far this week in Kano, Nigeria's second-largest city. Andrew Ubah, the general secretary of the association in Kano, told Reuters on Thursday 13 May that he was keeping a tally based on reports from church leaders throughout the city. "Almost 600 people have been killed and 12 churches burned," he said.
David Emmanuel, a factory worker told Reuters he saw two truckloads of corpses on Wednesday night, and he counted at least 30 bodies in the street. Elsewhere, correspondents have seen 35 mostly burned and mutilated bodies.
The official police tally of 30 that remains more or less static from Wednesday night is belied by the overflowing morgue and the constant stream of eye-witness reports from all quarters of the city. Bodies were being discovered on Thursday and because the main hospital mortuary was full were taken to undisclosed locations, according to the Red Cross. "Not all cases are reported, especially cases in which relatives have already buried their dead," said Aminu Inua, a Red Cross official in Kano.
"Hundreds of people were killed," said Christian leader Mark Amani. "Some corpses were burned in wells. Even little children were killed. The bodies of pregnant women were ripped open and their bodies burned," he said.
Sources report the killing of several hundred people when defiant mobs of Muslim youths armed with clubs and machetes and cutlasses rampaged at about 1 a.m. on Thursday despite a police imposed curfew. Mobs went from house to house looking for Christian victims and in some cases trapped the occupants inside and torched the houses. Police have been issued orders to shoot armed rioters on sight. While Muslims have complained that the police have killed innocent civilians as a result, they do not mean the scores of hacked bodies that lie in the streets and in charred buildings and vehicles according to residents.
There are fears that the number of deaths may continue to grow since an order was circulated by Umar Ibrahim Kabo, the most senior Mulim cleric in Kano, for all Christians to leave the area by today, Friday 14 May. More than 30,000 residents, mostly Christians, have been driven from their homes in Kano officials said on Thursday, a figure confirmed by Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon in a telephone conversation with Barnabas Fund.