Nigeria death toll much higher than previous claims
In a letter to the president of the Nigerian Senate, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says 3,000 Christians died in this month's Plateau State violence. Earlier estimates put the figure at about 1,000—a number that includes both Christians and Muslims.

"The group, citing 'information available' to it, alleged that 30 churches and over 200 houses belonging to Christians have been destroyed while over 90 Christian students were killed at the Bayero University [in] Kano and the Federal College of Education [in] Bichi," reports The Daily Champion, a Nigerian newspaper based in Lagos. "Another six Christian lecturers from the institutions were also allegedly killed."

And, sadly, the violence continues. Despite a declaration of a state of emergency in Plateau State, at least 25 (or 30) people have been killed in the last few days, especially in the remote town of Sabon Gida. The number may be more.

"Seven villages have been attacked, they killed 25 people," local CAN head Mangmwos Tangshak told the AFP news service. " I saw 25 dead bodies myself."

Another development in the story is that news agencies are now examining the secular and ethnic reasons for the conflict. Apparently the murders aren't just about Islam and Christianity.

"The attack on Sabon Gida and neighboring Christian communities is the latest atrocity in a three-year-old battle between rival religious and ethnic groups for control of Plateau State's fertile farmlands," says AFP. Likewise, the Associated Press headlines its story, "Nigeria to Crack Down on Ethnic Violence."

The reporters are apparently taking the cues from Chris Alli, a retired Nigerian army general who has been appointed to govern Plateau ...

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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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