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Cablegate: Gon Committee Says Almost 54,000 Killed In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

141254Z Oct 04

UNCLAS ABUJA 001753

SIPDIS

DRL FOR KENNETH M. DURKIN

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KIRF PGOV PREL KDEM NI
SUBJECT: GON COMMITTEE SAYS ALMOST 54,000 KILLED IN
PLATEAU STATE SINCE 2001


1. (SBU) Summary. A committee appointed by the
Plateau State Sole Administrator reported on October 7
that nearly 54,000 people have been killed in Plateau
State since the September 7, 2001, riots in Jos. Until
now, total casualties nationwide during President
Obasanjo's regime have been estimated at 10,000. End
Summary.

2. (U) A Committee of Rehabilitation and
Reconciliation of Internally Displaced People,
appointed by the Plateau State Sole Administrator, who
took over from suspended Governor Joshua Dariye when a
State of Emergency (SOE) was declared on May 18,
reported on October 7 that nearly 54,000 people have
been killed in Plateau State since the September 7,
2001, riots in Jos. The chairman of the Committee said
that about 19,000 men, 17,000 women, and 17,000
children had been killed, for a total of 53,787 deaths.

3. (SBU) The staff assistant to suspended Plateau
State Governor Joshua Dariye told Poloff the
Committee's figures were "outrageous and ridiculous."
He pointed out that the methodology of compiling totals
by collecting anecdotes from residents was not
reliable, and claimed that the Committee did not cross-
check existing state records before releasing the
report results to the press.

4. (SBU) The head of the GON's National Commission for
Refugees agreed that the Committee's methodology was
faulty, but said that the overall number of deaths was
"believable." He told Poloff that he was a member of
the Committee that produced the report, but he was out
of the country when the final report was compiled. He
promised to forward a copy of the report to Poloff when
he received it.

-------
Comment
-------

5. (SBU) Until now, total casualties nationwide since
President Obasanjo was inaugurated in 1999 have been
estimated at around 10,000. The new figure from this
Committee in Plateau State alone would be several times
the previous figure for the country as a whole. The
explanation may lie in the upcoming expiration of
Plateau State's six-month State of Emergency (SOE) on
November 18, and the prospect of suspended Governor
Dariye's returning to his office. The release of this
report may have been a political move by the GON to
block Dariye's reinstatement. It is the Presidency,
however, that is responsible for Nigeria's security
forces--the police, the military, and the State
Security Service (SSS), and others.

ROBERTS

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