Our Time Has Come: Cult Politics and Violence in Central Nigeria

by ptinti


On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, approximately 100 Nigerian security operatives, including members of elite combat units and intelligence officers, approached the remote village of Alakyo. By the next day, almost all of them were dead. This is Part I in a series of articles about Ombatse, the “cult” that stands accused of kidnapping, forcibly converting, and killing hundreds of people in Nigeria.

ASSAKIO, Nigeria — Doris Alliu teaches humanities at an elite private school in Abuja, Nigeria’s tranquil if graceless capital city. Most of her students are between 6 and 7 years old. “I much prefer them to teenagers,” she tells me, “they are still sweet at this age.”

On Thursday, May 9 of 2013, Doris received a phone call her from sister-in-law, Mariam. She wanted to know if Doris had heard from Shehu, Mariam’s brother and Doris’ husband. Doris told Mariam that she last talked to Shehu that Tuesday, two days earlier. The conversation ended abruptly.

Doris, who was pregnant with her first child, thought the phone call was strange but continued about her…

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