Christians Mark Easter In Strife-Scarred Northern Nigeria

April 2, 2010

Author: Aminu Abubakar

Source: Google News

Wire Service: AFP

Thousands of devout Christians thronged the dusty streets of Kano in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north to mark Jesus' crucification in a show of sharply improved sectarian ties in a city previously notorious for religious intolerance.

Escorted by police, over 4,000 weeping, sobbing and somber Catholics walked a four-kilometre (2.5-mile) procession singing hymns as a man in his 30s pretended to be Jesus wearing a white robe and a thorn crown as he carried an eight-foot red wooden cross.

The symbolic whipping of 'Jesus' by the soldiers sporting mock military camouflage and their encouragement by the 'Pharisees', dressed in white robes and brown cassocks provoked more wailings and sobbing from the faithful.

The celebration comes as sectarian tensions run high in Nigeria following recent spates of deadly ethnic and religious violence in the central city of Jos which claimed hundreds of lives.

Sectarian violence between Muslim Hausa-Fulani and Christian Beroms left over 326 dead, most of them Muslims, according to police, while two separate reprisal attacks on Christian farming villages last month, claimed more than 500 lives according state officials.