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Africa
Dozens die in Nigeria clashes
At least 26 people killed in violence between Christians and Muslims in northern city.
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2010 18:47 GMT

Troops are patrolling the northern Nigerian city of Jos after clashes between Christians and Muslims left at least 26 people dead and injured around 100 more, officials said.

Violence erupted on Sunday over the rebuilding of homes destroyed in 2008 clashes between the two religious groups, residents said, although reports as to why the latest round of fighting broke out varied.

According to the Associated Press, Muslim youths set fire to a church filled with worshippers, starting a riot that saw mosques and homes burnt.

But the AFP news agency said the unrest was sparked by youths protesting the building of a mosque in a predominantly Christian area.

'Calm restored'

Police said on Monday that the situation was under control and an evening curfew was in place.

"Security personnel have succeeded in quelling the unrest and restoring calm in the affected area of the city," Mohammed Lerema, Plateau State police spokesman, told AFP.

"We have cordoned the Nassarawa Gwom district as a strategy to prevent the violence from spilling over to other parts of the city," he said.

Jos, capital of Plateau state and home to 500,000 people, along with other central and northern areas in Nigeria have been plagued by religious violence in recent years.

In November 2008, hundreds of people were killed in Jos in two days of fighting triggered by a rumour that the mainly Muslim All Nigerian Peoples Party had lost a local election to the Christian dominated Peoples Democratic Party.

State officials put the death toll at about 200 but other sources gave a toll twice that figure.

Last month, at least 40 people were killed in clashes between security forces and members of an Islamist sect in the northern Bauchi State.

Nigeria has roughly the same number of Christians and Muslims, although traditional animist beliefs underpin many people's faiths.

Source:
Agencies
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