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Nigerian Muslims bury 600 after Christian slaughter - Guardian, UK

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  • Zafar Khan
    Nigerian Muslims bury 600 after Christian slaughter Reuters in Yelwa Friday May 7, 2004 The Guardian
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7, 2004
      Nigerian Muslims bury 600 after Christian slaughter

      Reuters in Yelwa
      Friday May 7, 2004
      The Guardian


      A Muslim community leader in the Nigerian town of
      Yelwa said yesterday that 630 bodies had been buried
      there after an attack by Christian militia on Sunday.
      The previous estimate of the death toll was 300.
      Survivors of the attacks said many people were still
      missing and the final death toll could reach 1,000.
      Another 600 were said to be seriously wounded.

      "We buried a total of 630 people yesterday, 1,500
      people were injured and 600 were taken for emergency
      treatment," the community leader, Abdullahi Abdullahi,

      There was no independent confirmation of the toll.
      Many residents fled Yelwa after the attack.

      Before the violence, at least 350 people had been
      killed in three months of tit-for-tat fighting between
      the Christian Tarok and Muslim Fulani over fertile
      farmlands at the centre of Africa's most populous

      Mr Abdullahi showed a Reuters correspondent a
      foul-smelling area of freshly turned earth where he
      said some of the people killed in Sunday's attack had
      been buried. Nearby a mosque had been gutted by fire.

      A Nigerian Red Cross worker, Umar Mairiga, said he had
      seen another site where 350 people had been buried.

      One Yelwa resident, Suleman Umar, said he thought
      1,000 died in the invasion by the heavily armed
      Christian militia. "I would have preferred to die
      because I lost everything in the attack. My family, my
      property. I lost all in the attack," Mr Umar said.

      Charred bodies were still lying in the streets
      yesterday as some exhausted women and children
      returned to the devastated town. "We have been burying
      the dead for the past four days," one of the
      residents, Shehu Abdullahi, said.

      "Even today we moved several bodies from culverts and
      wells. We are overworked. We are hungry. The
      able-bodied men still around are very few. That's why
      we still have some corpses littering the streets."

      Mr Mairiga said he had attended to dozens of victims
      yesterday. "We have given aid to 58 people with
      gunshot wounds, machete wounds and fractures. Some
      have mortal wounds. One boy has his intestines still
      protruding from his stomach," he said.

      Nigeria is a battleground for the world's two main
      religions, which share roughly equally its population
      of 130m people.

      Religious violence has killed at least 5,000 people
      since 2000, when 12 northern states predominantly
      inhabited by Muslims established Islamic sharia law.

      More about Muslims from Africa at:

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