Muslims have slaughtered an estimated 600 Christians this week in Nigeria, according to the Christian Association of Nigeria.
The carnage in Kano, in the country’s mostly Muslim north, began with a protest in retaliation for Muslim deaths hundreds of miles away in Yelwe, said the British-based monitor of persecution against Christians, Barnabas Fund, the Assist News service reported.
Andrew Ubah, general secretary of the association, told Reuters Thursday the tally was based on reports from church leaders throughout the city. Twelve churches have been burned, he said.
David Emmanuel, a factory worker, told Reuters he saw two truckloads of corpses Wednesday night and counted at least 30 bodies in the street.
Elsewhere, Assist said, correspondents have seen 35 mostly burned and mutilated bodies.
The official police tally of 30 deaths is belied by the overflowing morgue and the constant stream of eyewitness reports from all quarters of the city, Assist said.
Bodies were being taken to undisclosed locations because the main hospital mortuary was full, according to the Red Cross.
“Not all cases are reported, especially cases in which relatives have already buried their dead,” said Aminu Inua, a Red Cross official in Kano.
“Hundreds of people were killed,” said Christian leader Mark Amani. “Some corpses were burned in wells. Even little children were killed.
“The bodies of pregnant women were ripped open and their bodies burned,” he said.
A spokesman for Barnabas Fund said its source reports the killing of several hundred people “when defiant mobs of Muslim youths armed with clubs and machetes and cutlasses rampaged at about 1 a.m. on Thursday despite a police imposed curfew.”
“Mobs went from house to house looking for Christian victims and in some cases trapped the occupants inside and torched the houses,” the Barnabas spokesman said. “Police have been issued orders to shoot armed rioters on sight.”
The group said, ‘While Muslims have complained that the police have killed innocent civilians as a result, they do not mean the scores of hacked bodies that lie in the streets and in charred buildings and vehicles according to residents.”
Barnabas said locals fear the number of deaths will continue to grow since an order was circulated by Umar Ibrahim Kabo, the most senior Muslim cleric in Kano, for all Christians to leave the area by yesterday.
More than 30,000 residents, mostly Christians, have been driven from their homes in Kano, officials said Thursday, a figure confirmed by Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon in a telephone conversation with Barnabas Fund.
Barnabas Fund has established a fund to help the pastors, their families and their churches.