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Nigeria - sectarian violence

Hundreds feared dead in religious clashes

Article published on the 2010-01-19 Latest update 2010-01-19 17:24 TU

Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria(Photo: Wikipedia)

Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria
(Photo: Wikipedia)

The Nigerian government has placed a 24-hour curfew on the city of Jos and neighbouring Bukuru in central Nigeria, after violence resumed this morning. Hundreds of people are feared dead following clashes between Christians and Muslims that began on Sunday.

The dispute followed an argument about the rebuilding of homes that were destroyed in riots in November 2008.

According to a senior Muslim cleric, at least 190 people have been killed since Sunday. Many of the bodies were taken to the city's central mosque, according to its head Balarabe Dawud.

It is not yet clear if all the deaths resulted from the clashes, or if police intervention is also to blame.

"We received 156 dead bodies this morning and another 36 this afternoon," he said. Dawud said at least 800 people had been injured. 

Fighting spread to Bukuru on the outskirts of Jos during the day and left another three dead and 39 injured, according to paramedic Maryam Mohammed.

The violence began on Sunday when Christian youths protested against the building of a mosque in a majority Christian area of the city.

Jos is located in Plateau State, between the Muslim-dominated north and the Christian south of Nigeria. In November 2008, hundreds of people were killed in two days of sectarian fighting in the city.

In the northern Borno State, at least 800 people were killed last July when security forces put down an insurrection by a Muslim sect.

In December, around 70 people were killed in clashes between security forces and members of another radical sect in Bauchi State.