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Nigeria - Jos violence

Government relaxes curfew as death toll tops 400

Article published on the 2010-01-20 Latest update 2010-01-20 19:09 TU

Vehicles burning on the street in Jos(Credit: Reuters)

Vehicles burning on the street in Jos
(Credit: Reuters)

Authorities relaxed the curfew in Nigeria's central city of Jos late on Wednesday, after three days of sectarian violence that left over 460 people dead.

The curfew, originally in place round-the-clock, will now only apply between the hours of 17.00 and 10.00, the Plateau State Information Ministry announced.

464 bodies have now been found, according to human rights groups and officials at the Kuru Gada Biu mosque where many corpses have been taken.

"Reports from outside the city is that the crisis has escalated and people are sending SOS messages for security to come arrest them,"  Bashir Ibrahim Idris, from RFI's Hausa service, reports from Jos.

Interview: Bashir Ibrahim Idris, in Jos

20/01/2010 by Daniel Singleton

The state government told residents to stay indoors for their safety and asked people to lay down their arms and co-operate with security, according to Ibrahim Idris.

What they did not address, he says, is the fact that shops are closed and people are unable to go out and get food.

"There's no food and there's no water. People are actually devastated by the crisis and having spent 74 hours at home without going out, many of them are living without food."

A few people have been able to get food by sharing with their neighbours, he reports, "but apart from that, people are really hungry."

The Nigerian Red Cross estimates that some 5,000 people have abandoned their homes in an effort to find somewhere safer.

"There is nothing like aid coming to the people" from the Nigerian government, says Ibrahim Idris, "especially [for] those who are displaced by the crisis and living in a refugee camp".