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Saturday, 8 September, 2001, 21:31 GMT 22:31 UK
Nigerian troops curb religious violence
Nigerian troops
Troops were patrolling and removing bodies
Troops are enforcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the central Nigerian city of Jos, where at least 10 people have died in clashes between Christians and Muslims.

Thousands of residents fled in terror as rival gangs of Christian and Muslim youths armed with guns, machetes and other weapons set up roadblocks and stopped cars.

Many people sought refuge in local police stations.

Map of Nigeria
The BBC's Dan Isaacs in Lagos reports that the army now appears to have restored some semblance of order in Jos. The city is under curfew for a second night.

President Olusegun Obasanjo appealed to religious and community leaders on Saturday to calm their followers.

"I wonder what sort of Muslims and Christians start burning churches and mosques - places where God is worshipped? True believers in God cannot start killing other human beings," he said.

The fighting erupted near a mosque before Friday night prayers and quickly spread through the town, witnesses said.

There were reports of some victims having their eyes gouged out and of dead bodies left on the street.

Jos has largely been spared the religious violence which has rocked neighbouring cities such as Kaduna, where hundreds of people were killed in fighting last year over the introduction of Sharia, or Islamic, law.

Trigger

The latest trouble appears to have been triggered when a Christian woman crossed a traffic barricade near the central mosque area on Friday.

A soldier at Kaduna
Violence in Kaduna left 1,000 dead
Reports said tension in the city had risen since a Muslim was appointed chairman of a state poverty reduction programme.

Many of the fighters on the Christian side were members of the Berom tribe, a group native to Jos. Fulanis and Hausas - two of Nigeria's largest groups - made up a large proportion of the Muslim militants.

Jos, a city of some four million, lies 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) northeast of Lagos, the commercial capital.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Dan Isaacs
"It has been a very nasty two days indeed"
See also:

12 Oct 00 | Africa
Sharia compromise for Kaduna
10 Aug 00 | Africa
Sharia beating for motorcyclists
21 Jun 00 | Africa
Analysis: Sharia takes hold
25 May 00 | Africa
Nigeria's year of turmoil
11 Sep 00 | Africa
Nigeria's bishops confront Sharia
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