Brutal murder of two Christian journalists sow new fear in Nigeria
Violence has erupted anew in troubled Plateau State, Nigeria with the brutal murder of two Christian journalists who were stabbed to death by a mob while they were on their way to interview a politician.
Nathan Sheleph Dabak, deputy editor of The Light Bearer, and reporter Sunday Gyang Bwede were about on their way to interview the Hon. Bulus Kaze of the Jos East constituency when an angry mob accosted the media men and stabbed them to death on April 24.
The bodies of the victims, who were working for a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) publication, were found in the Jos University Teaching Hospital mortuary the following day.
Jos, the capital city of Plateau State, borders Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north and Christian south. Sectarian violence has been rife in the area since 2001 totaling some 2000 people who up to now have been killed in collective violence incidents, according to BBC News.
According to the BBC such incidents, though involving clashes between Muslims and Christians, have underlying political and economic issues. The report notes that Muslims in the area tend to be nomads, while Christians are farmers, however both groups share Jos.
The BBC primarily blames greedy politicians who benefit from stirring religious hatred to drive away supporters of rival candidates. National elections are slated to be held in Nigeria next year.
Tensions in Jos remain high. The deaths of Dabak and Bwede only became known when a friend phoned the former. A stranger answered saying, “We have killed all of them; you can do your worst,” according to Persecution.org.
Other recent acts of violence include the shooting death of journalist Edo Sule Ugbagwu of the Nation within days of this incident in his home near Lagos. Also in January 18, some 200 Muslims attacked Christans in St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Nassarawa Gwong, Jos.
Rev. Dr. Pandat Yamsat, president of COCIN, asked churchgoers to “cry out to God and allow Him to take vengeance.” Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) asked local government officials to arrest the perpetrators even as he appealed for peace, according to the Christian Telegraph.