– CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS CLASHES IN NIGERIA
At least 149 people have been killed during two days of violence between Christian and Muslim gangs in the Nigerian city of Jos, officials said, on Tuesday 01/19/2010.
Mosque workers and Muslim clerics told reporters of the deaths as they prepared for a mass burial. The death toll has not been verified independently and it is not known how many Christians have died.
Nigeria’s vice-president has ordered troops to help police restore order and also dispatched top security officials. It is believed to be the first time Goodluck Jonathan has used executive powers since President Umaru YarAdua left Nigeria for hospital treatment in Saudi Arabia in 11/2009.
The clashes broke out on Sunday and have continued since, with reports of gunfire and burning buildings. A 24-hour curfew has been enforced in the area, which has seen several bouts of deadly violence in recent years.
At least 200 people were killed in an outbreak of fighting between Muslims and Christians in 2008, while some 1,000 died in a riot in 2001. The current violence has forced at least 3,000 people from their homes (see – Bauchi 07.26.09).
Balarabe Dawud, head of the Central Mosque in Jos, told AFP news agency he had counted 192 bodies since Sunday.
Anglican Archbishop of Jos Benjamin Kwashi told the BBC that the situation was improving in the city centre, where security forces have been deployed. But the violence spread beyond the city boundaries on Tuesday to neighboring areas.
Jos is in Nigeria’s volatile Middle Belt – between the mainly Muslim north and the south where the majority is Christian or follow traditional religions (see also – Boko Haram).
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