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Nigeria: Red Cross assists victims of sectarian violence in Jos

04-12-2008 News Release 08/227

Abuja (ICRC) – Hundreds of people lost their lives and many more were displaced amid sectarian violence that followed disputed local elections held in Jos, the capital of Plateau state in north-central Nigeria, on 27 November.

Many homes, churches, mosques, schools and businesses were razed by angry youths, prompting hundreds of people to flee their homes for safety.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in coordination with the Nigerian Red Cross Society, has distributed rice, drinking water and salt to the displaced to supplement food aid provided by government agencies.

The humanitarian situation is deteriorating, as more injured people are taken to hospital and the number of people in the various temporary displacement camps keeps rising.

" The number of injured is difficult to ascertain because some stayed in private homes for fear of further attacks. Red Cross personnel take victims to hospital whenever they become aware of them, " said Ernest Ogbozor, an ICRC delegate working in Jos as a member of the Red Cross assessment and response team. " I counted 228 dead bodies at a mosque. You can imagine what the figures are elsewhere, " he said.

Over 70 Red Cross volunteers were mobilized by the local chapter of the Nigerian Red Cross to help take the injured to hospital and register the displaced. Nigerian Red Cross branches in neighbouring Nasarawa and Bauchi states provided additional personnel and vehicles. As at 1 December, the Red Cross had taken 148 injured persons to various hospitals and registered over 14,000 displaced people at 13 different camps.

  For further information, please contact:
  Anahita Kar, ICRC Abuja, tel: +234 9 4619613 or +234 703 595 4168
  Blessing Ejiofor, ICRC Abuja, tel: +234 803 3335280