On Sunday, the 20th of March 2011, between 9 and 10am, a bomb blasted in the hands of two Muslim youths. The youths who were riding on a motor cycle around Nasarawa Gwom were said to be riding towards the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) Nasarawa Gwom with the intention of detonating their bomb on the church but the bomb went off earlier than set time. Stefanos Foundation arrived at the area and saw the bombers and their motor cycle burnt beyond recognition. The impact from the detonated bomb also affected a nearby shop.
Stefanos Foundation met one Moses Samuel on admission at Jos University Hospital (JUTH). Moses was the only surviving victim, injured by the detonated bomb. According to Moses Samuel, who left the church on his way home, he arrived at the scene and saw the two men on their motor cycle. Moses said he noticed someone leaving to call a soldier and just before he could find out the problem, the blast happened. According to him, all he remembers was that he saw the two men on the ground, as he was being helped to the hospital.
According to one Fonshak Cishak who was around a photographic studio across watching the men, he noticed them drop a huge bag - and its suspicious contents. Fonshak went to get a military man to interrogate them but just before he got away, the blast occurred. At about the same time another Muslim motor cycle rider was also sighted around ECWA Church Angwan Rukuba under similar suspicious circumstances. Stefanos Foundation found the man’s body burning at the scene of the incident. It was said that passers bye stumped on him and set him ablaze. Stefanos Foundation arrived at an overcrowded situation around Nasarawa Gwom Junction where some anxious ethnic people were reacting against the incident.They were demonstrating in the presence of the Chairman and men of the Joint Task Force who had arrived to assess the situation.
The Ethnic Plateau Youths, in their protest were chanting Christian songs in Hausa. One of which says “We will not stop following Jesus”. The youths in this part of the town are always being molested by their Muslim neighbours. They now see their area as a death zone as many have either been injured or killed here by Muslims. While at Jos University Hospital (JUTH) Stefanos Foundation discovered 3 Christians had earlier on been killed that morning at Duala Junction; a woman and two men. Six other Christians were also stabbed with knives. They are presently receiving treatment in the hospital.
In a separate development, the Police CID Division reported that they dislodged a bomb set on Mountain On Fire Church around UTC Motors. Investigations are still on. The police are positive on information leading to the arrest of the planners. It would be recalled that the Hausa-Fulani Muslim Elders Forum of Jos held a meeting on the 28th of December 2010 in Bauchi and published their resolutions in the Nations Newspaper of 30th Dec. 2010 saying “Muslims in the State shall ensure that a few months before the general elections, Jihad will be declared in the State which cannot be controlled even by security agencies, with great slaughter and massacre, which the Federal Government will have no option than to declare a State of Emergency in Plateau"
At dawn Monday the 21st March 2011, residence of Faringada community also woke up to discover two dead bodies in their community. Sources identified the men as from the Ibo tribe, and efforts to find out how they were killed has not yielded much results, however as this was being contemplated, violence broke out at the nearby market. Stefanos Foundation gathered that some of the Christians who went to the market this morning to buy vegetables were attacked by Muslims at the market.
Monday the 21st March happened to be the day set aside by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Presidential campaign. Normally CPC campaigns are always characterized by Islamic violence and so residents of around Polo fields were alert. Report has it that stones from the field were thrown into (ECWA) Evangel Hospital, just behind the fence. There have been rumours that Muslims planned to attack the hospital. As the Muslim youths from CPC got out of control, Christians were alert to defend their areas. The environment became chaotic and military men came in to take control. Two Christians were followed into the ECWA Church Bishara 2 compound and were gunned down.
Do continue to pray for the Plateau Ethnic Christians as they continue to struggle in response to these attacks targeted on them. Despite all these threats, Christians in Jos are still determined to stand up for their faith. Many have been killed and yet many are ready to be martyred for their faith and their heritage.