Violence in Angwan Rogo
Christians can't live in Angwan Rogo now. I can't go back to live there. All Christians have vacated. In Angwan Rogo there is a place where "Sharia line" has been written on the tar on the road. It was written during the crisis. When we hear the government saying it's safe and we can go back, we just laugh.
He himself had narrowly escaped being killed:
On Friday, I tried to make my way home but I couldn't get through [...] Looking towards Angwan Rogo, all I could see was fire, including the church which was on fire. [...] Along the road I met a group of armed people. In the park, they said: "See, there's one of them!" I reached a primary school and there was another hostile group. They said: "Catch him!" They fired a gun into the air. Further on, I met another group of about thirty, mostly young boys; they were hiding guns under their clothes. They also had bows and arrows, knives, and cutlasses. I heard an announcement on the mosque loudspeaker, saying: "Finish these people off if you catch any of them."
The man eventually sought protection in the university grounds. His four children, who were trapped in Angwan Rogo on the first day of the violence, were saved by a Muslim neighbor.
A twenty-seven-year-old Christian woman from Angwan Rogo, who, along with her family of eight, was still living in a displaced people's camp one month later, witnessed some of the violence on the first two days as she was trying to flee:34
The violence reached Angwan Rogo on Friday, September 7. We tried to leave but we couldn't pass. That night I was at home. About sixteen Hausa men came to the house. They were carrying knives, cutlasses and axes. We could identify about seven of them as our neighbors. They came into our compound but fortunately they couldn't penetrate into the house. We had turned the lights out and we saw them cutting down trees; they were saying they were cutting down the trees of the enemy. Later they burned and vandalized our house, after we left. Some of our neighbors were not so lucky. The Hausa men got into their houses and killed people, then threw their corpses into their house.
Early the next day, we tried to leave again but the place was still being attacked. On that Saturday, September 8, some of my neighbors were killed, including Mr. Okoye, an Igbo man who worked at the university. They left his corpse in front of his house. Another family was also attacked that day: they were indigenes, Biroms. They killed the father and three sons in the house. They asked the mother and daughters to leave, then burned down the house.
Eventually the military came and helped us get out.35 Some Christians tried to get out on their own; they were killed by Muslims. Some Hausa elders pleaded for Christians not to be harmed and they helped call the army to get us out. Along the road, other Muslims said to the soldiers that they should allow them to kill Christians; the soldiers told us not to listen to them and that we would be safe.
I saw people being killed. I also passed a lot of corpses in the street and people who had been burnt in their houses. The corpses were mainly men, and a few women. People were using cutlasses, axes and guns. It was very prepared and planned. They were heavily armed. They were picking Christians out, whether indigenes or not. As I was leaving I tried to count the bodies, but I couldn't, I felt so bad. It was like a film. I just know there were lots of corpses.
As we were heading towards the university campus, some Hausas came with us. Some Christian indigenes accused them of being spies and caught them. They killed two of the Hausa with big sticks; they hit them on the head and they collapsed. Then they poured petrol over them and put tires around their heads and burned them.
There are no Christians left in Angwan Rogo. Even before this crisis, there were tensions. We were threatened by Muslims, even children who were repeating what their parents said. These were not words of peace. They were encouraging people to fight.
Human Rights Watch researchers spoke to a thirty-eight-year-old Christian man who had just been discharged from hospital after sustaining serious injuries near Angwan Rogo on September 8:36
On Saturday morning, at about 8 a.m. or 9 a.m., I was on my way to my house in Angwan Rimi to collect money for my mother's funeral. When I reached the junction at Angwan Rogo, a group of men stopped me and asked me where I was going. I told them. They started abusing me and asked me what my religion was. I said: "I am a Christian." I can't deny my religion even if I'm dying. They were very aggressive. There were many of them, about 300; they covered the whole of the main road. They were men of different ages. They had guns, rods, and machetes. There was a leader commanding them. He was urging them on. He told them that if they died in the process, they would go to heaven. They hit me on the head with a series of machete strikes and with an iron rod on both arms. They tried to break my ribs with the rod but I protected my ribs with my arms, so my arms were hit instead. I was also hit on the ankle and the back. With the rush of blood to my head, I fainted. They thought I was dead. They carried me and threw me through the university fence.
Some students found me and took care of me. They started treating my head injuries at the university but they couldn't finish the stitches so they had to take me to hospital. I was hospitalized for three weeks and four days. I was only discharged today. I have nothing. They took 55,000 naira (the money for my mother's burial) and all my belongings.
I was alone at the time of the attack. My family was at home. I don't know where they are now. I heard they've gone to the village far away in the south, in Umuahia. They don't even know that I'm alive.
Attacks at the University of Jos
A student leader described the scene:37
On Friday, Muslims were attacking Christians in Angwan Rogo and we were caught in the middle. We heard reports that some students had been attacked. Students in the campus were wondering what to do and where to go. We had no weapons, so there was no point looking for the attackers. We just decided to stay together. There were more than sixty or eighty people who had sought refuge in the university. A mob of aggressors followed them to the gates. We had to position ourselves in strategic locations by the different gates. We had to defend ourselves from 2 p.m. till 11 p.m. Most of the students and staff were trapped. We couldn't go out because there was fighting in town. We spent the whole night at the university. The next day, we thought everything was OK. The deputy governor had come to reassure us. We started leaving on Saturday but had to return almost immediately.
The attackers had bows and arrows, machetes and locally-made guns. Some people were shot; I saw many injuries. We resisted the attack but we only had stones. There was attack and retreat, backwards and forwards, several times. They almost subdued us. They burned the gate of the permanent site.
Another student described the chaos at the university:38
The crisis started on September 7. Information first reached us at 2.20 p.m. We rushed down to the Bauchi Road campus. There was pandemonium there. We were not sure what to do. A female student was coming from town, oblivious to what was going on. Near Angwan Rogo junction, a group of people attacked her with a knife, chopped off her ear and tried to make her to chew it. Someone intervened to save her.
We gathered at the university gate and saw boys marching forward for an attack. We threw stones in their direction and they retreated. They were near the Bauchi Road car park. We received information that they were preparing to invade the hostel. We tried to protect ourselves but we had nothing. We were told that some students who had been macheted and shot were at the university clinic. Medical staff had run away for safety. Some students were able to hijack vehicles to convey wounded students to the hospital. I was doing this myself until 2.30 a.m. There were roadblocks along the way. We took more than twenty-five students and other Angwan Rogo residents to the hospital. The first student died at the hospital; he was macheted all over his face. Another died of liver perforation; a bullet had also entered his lungs. People had been hit with bullets, machetes, local arrows. Houses were burnt, bodies were also burnt. Men, women and children. It was a pathetic sight. This had never happened before.
At least twenty-five students and at least six or seven university staff, including two lecturers, are believed to have died. A student leader told Human Rights Watch:39
We are still verifying the number of students we lost. On September 8 Allanana Anthony Atta Ebuga, a fifth year pharmacy student, was burnt in his room in Angwan Rogo; he was sleeping when his house was set ablaze. The previous day, four girls were burnt inside a room. Lots of property was looted or stolen, including students' books and their credentials. Many students who lived in Angwan Rogo have been displaced; they have nowhere to live. Exams were supposed to be held on October 15; they will have to be postponed. Studies have been completely disrupted.
Many people who had run to the university grounds for protection but who were not students or university staff witnessed attacks against students around the university area. One man who fled there on September 7 said:
They killed a student in my presence. They shot him and he fell down. They cut him up with machetes then put a tire around him and burned him. It was at 9:00 a.m; I saw it with my own eyes. It was at the place where they sell vehicles. They shot many students there. [...] I witnessed killings at the motorpark on Friday. I saw this from the university. People were carrying guns. One group sent another group in front. They were firing at people as they went. They were stopping vehicles, getting Christians out and burning the vehicles. I must have seen about thirty-two dead.40