U.N. Calls for Restraint After Nigeria Machete Attacks Kill 500

Survivors of a series of attacks in three Christian villages near the Nigerian city of Jos have begun telling their stories about the traumatic experience, even as the real picture of the religious tension in the area became clearer to the international community. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for calm as death toll from the machete attacks rose to more than 500, including many women and children.

Ban said Nigeria’s religious and political leaders should work together to prevent a full-scale religious war from erupting in the area. He said authorities should look “to achieve a permanent solution to the crisis,” which was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Catholic Church is deeply saddened by the “horrible acts of violence.”

Survivors said members of the Muslim Fulani ethnic group burned houses and churches before mercilessly hacking everyone in sight. Witnesses said the attackers were chanting in Fulani, chopping down with machetes anyone who could not respond to the same language.