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[liberationtech] MEDIA: The dark side of liberationtech

Yosem Companys ycompanys at
Fri Jan 29 17:33:21 PST 2010

[image: BBC NEWS]
Nigeria texts 'fuelled Jos riots'

*Days of deadly violence between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria last week
was fuelled by inflammatory text messages, a religious leader has told the

Rev Joseph Hayab said hundreds of texts circulated around the city of Jos -
some urging Christians not to buy food from Muslims "because it was

Another told Muslims the state governor had ordered their water supply to be
cut in an attempt to kill them.

Police say 326 people died in the riots - other estimates are much higher.

Muslim officials have told rights groups that 364 Muslims were killed.

Christian leaders have not yet confirmed a death toll - although earlier
estimates said around 65 Christians had died.

More than 300 people have been arrested.

*'Dump them in a pit'*

Rev Hayab told the BBC's Network Africa programme that messages had been
circulating among both Christians and Muslims.

 Deadly riots in 2001 and 2008
 City divided into Christian and Muslim areas
 Divisions accentuated by system of classifying people as indigenes and
 Hausa-speaking Muslims living in Jos for decades are still classified as
 Settlers find it difficult to stand for election
 Divisions also exist along party lines: Christians mostly back the ruling
PDP; Muslims generally supporting the opposition ANPP

"I received hundreds of these text messages - some people wanted to know
whether the things they were hearing were true, some were sending them to me
to alert me that there was danger," he said.

The AFP news agency quoted rights groups as saying more than 145 different
messages had been sent helping to escalate the violence.

The agency quoted one message as saying: "War, war, war. Stand up... and
defend yourselves. Kill before they kill you. Slaughter before they
slaughter you. Dump them in a pit before they dump you."

And messages continued to circulate last weekend warning Christians that
Muslims intended to attack churches.

There were no subsequent attacks on churches and religious leaders have
urged people to ignore the messages.

Police are trying to find the source of the messages, AFP reports.

Violence erupted in the city early last week, rapidly spreading to nearby

Several thousand people remain displaced, having abandoned their homes to
escape the violence.

Jos, the capital of Plateau state, lies between Nigeria's mainly Muslim
north and predominantly Christian south and has seen sectarian riots in the
recent past.

But analysts say the real cause of the violence is a struggle for political
superiority in the city.
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