GENEVA, Switzerland, July 17, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The armed violence and clashes that took place on 7 and 8 July between the mainly livestock-herding Fulani and the farming Berom communities in Riyom and Barkin Ladi near Jos (Plateau state) caused dozens of casualties and forced more than 5,500 people to flee their homes. Over 25 villages were affected. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in cooperation with the Nigerian Red Cross Society, is providing essential assistance to the displaced people, who had to take shelter with host families and in schools and community halls.
"People left their homes and ran to safety with only the clothes they were wearing. They need everything to survive in this kind of situation," said Julia Unger, the head of the ICRC's office in Jos. "They have urgent needs in terms of food, water and basic household items." A curfew has been imposed in the affected areas to quell any further violence, and the security situation remains unpredictable.
So far, the ICRC has delivered one month's food rations (including rice, beans and cooking oil) along with blankets, buckets, soap and other essential items to over 2,800 displaced people. It has also installed 10 temporary sanitary facilities in places where the displaced are hosted, and it is in the process of installing two hand pumps to improve their access to water. This operation will continue over the next few days until all displaced people from both communities receive the aid they urgently need.
Since the ICRC opened its new office in Jos in February, this is the fourth time that it has taken action together with Nigerian Red Cross to assist people affected by inter-community violence in Plateau state, which has a history of such clashes.