Release partners say a Christian family of eight were among those killed in ongoing violence centred on Jos in central Plateau state.
Stefanos Foundation is requesting urgent prayer for the area which has been in the grip of violence for several weeks now (Prayer Alert, August 25, 2011). Reuters news agency said on Monday that at least 50 people had been killed in the previous week.
Stefanos Foundation reports that a couple and their six children were brutally killed in Tatu at the weekend. The village is reportedly home to many Christians who have been driven from their homes in northern Nigeria's Sharia states. Plateau straddles the 'middle belt' between Nigeria's north and south.
Stefanos Foundation reports that violence broke out after a number of Muslims moved into the largely Christian area to celebrate Eid, an Islamic religious festival.
The BBC says that three Muslims were also killed in the clashes – and that about 35 people were wounded and had to be taken to hospital. Two churches were also burnt down. Reuters reports that, on Sunday, a bomb planted in the marketplace of another village failed to go off because its battery was flat.
The BBC also reports that a total of 16 people died on Sunday night in attacks on the mainly Christian villages of Dabwak, 36 miles south of Jos, and Babale, six miles north of the city.
Many people are reportedly fleeing Jos amid fears for their safety. Both Christian and Muslim religious leaders have appealed for calm.
Release partners say that tensions are being fuelled by moves to drive Plateau Christians from their homes. Some local Christians have also accused military personnel of complicity in some attacks – or of turning a blind eye to violence against their communities.
(Sources: BBC, Reuters, Stefanos Foundation)
For a country profile and news about Nigeria, visit: http://www.releaseinternational.org/pages/country-profiles/nigeria.php
• Attend the LoveJos Conference in London on September 24, which is exploring opportunities for reconciliation and ways to help victims of violence. To find out more, please go to: www.lovejosconference.org.uk
• Pray for an end to the cycle of intercommunal violence in Jos, which has claimed so many lives. Pray that Christians will stand firm in their faith and speak out for justice. Pray for wisdom for Christian leaders trying to dissuade people from retaliation while recognising their need to defend themselves.
• Continue to pray for God's protection over Release partners working in the area, sometimes at great personal risk.