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Friday, July 23, 1999 Published at 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK

World: Africa

Kano 'tense' after ethnic riots

Riots broke out when displaced people arrived from Sagamu

By BBC Nigeria Correspondent Barnaby Phillips

The northern Nigerian city of Kano is reported to be tense following ethnic rioting on Thursday, in which local Hausa people attacked Yorubas from the south of the country.

Although some Yorubas were injured, no deaths were reported.

Relations between Yorubas and Hausas - Nigeria's two largest ethnic groups - have been strained following fighting between them at the beginning of the week in the southern town of Sagamu. The violence left at least 50 people dead and forced hundreds of Hausas to flee.

The rioting in Kano began when injured and displaced Hausas arrived from Sagamu.

Some were injured and news of their plight quickly spread around the city. Gangs of Hausas attacked shops belonging to Yorubas and also burnt some buildings. Many Yorubas are reported to have sought sanctuary in military barracks.

The Nigerian police came out promptly and in force to break up the riots in Kano and they succeeded in preventing what would have been an extremely serious situation.

Kano was reported to be calm on Friday morning, and heavy rainfall gave the authorities greater confidence that the trouble would not continue for a second day.

Kano is the largest city and commercial centre of northern Nigeria. Although it is very much a Hausa city, there is a large migrant population from the south of the country.

In 1991, riots in the city involving Hausas and southern Nigerians left hundreds of people dead.

Officials in the presidency in the capital, Abuja, say they are closely watching events.

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