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Monday, 8 October, 2001, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Kaduna fires reignite fears of violence
Soldier inspects patrols Kaduna after February 2000 riots
Kaduna was heavily damaged by Sharia clashes last year
Police are investigating an attack on at least one church and some shops in the northern city of Kaduna.

Witnesses said that police have been patrolling heavily on the streets to prevent a possible outbreak of religious violence.

Map of Nigeria
Christians and Muslims have had an uneasy coexistence in Kaduna since two violent outbreaks last year in the city in which more than 1,000 people were killed.

Kaduna is half Muslim and half Christian, but the district where the attacks took place is predominantly Muslim and is adorned with posters of Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, the key suspect in last month's suicide attacks in the United States.

Kaduna residents are reported to have observed a curfew.

Revenge

Two independent newspapers said three churches had been burned by Muslim extremists on Saturday.

A family walks past a damaged church
Churches and mosques are targets in any violence
But government officials said only one church had been damaged in a fire, and the cause was unclear.

Another report said a beer parlour had been burnt down.

Some local residents in Kaduna described the arson attacks as revenge for last month's violence between Christians and Muslims in Jos in central Nigeria in which more than 500 people were reported to have been killed.

The introduction of strict Islamic Sharia law in northern states has exacerbated tensions between Christians and Muslims.

President Olusegun Obasanjo has pledged to crack down on ethnic and religious violence and has said he will set up a Presidential Commission on Security.

See also:

09 Sep 01 | Africa
Dozens killed in Nigeria violence
13 Aug 01 | Africa
Beer row in northern Nigeria
11 Sep 00 | Africa
Nigeria's bishops confront Sharia
07 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Nigeria
12 Oct 00 | Africa
Sharia compromise for Kaduna
21 Jun 00 | Africa
Analysis: Sharia takes hold
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