Is peace returning to Jos?

The year 2010 was disastrous for the city of Jos in Nigeria. Ethnic and religious rivalry exploded into violence and many people lost their lives in clashes in the streets, at roadblocks manned by armed youths, or in nocturnal raids on villages and hamlets. Neighbourhoods were cleansed. Thousands of blackened ruins still stand as reminders of the horrific events, as the owners of the burnt-out houses have been unable to return to rebuild them. Last year, people still did not travel through areas dominated by the opposing group, not even on the main roads. But now, people are cautiously optimistic. Former no-go areas are slowly opening up. Last year, staff from the Water Board and Power Holding Company of Nigeria (the main electricity provider) did not dare to enter ‘enemy’ territory for repairs and maintenance. ‘Now we go everywhere,’ one of them said. Most of the security forces have left Jos for other hot-spots, notably Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria.

The picture is of Dogon Karfi, from which youths from several neighbourhoods teamed up to evict the Muslim population one day in 2010. In the space of an hour, more than 100 houses were razed. Now, people are slowly returning, at least to those houses furthest from the Christian sector, to clear away the rubble. They will not spend the night there, not yet, but they anticipate the day will come when they will.

Text and photo: Erik & Ulrika Trovalla

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