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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 June, 2004, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Mosque row sparks Nigeria clashes
Christians arrive aboard trucks after fleeing the violence
Thousands have fled recent religious clashes in Nigeria
At least seven people have been killed and three mosques burnt down in clashes between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria's north-eastern Adamawa State.

Fighting broke out in the town of Numan after Muslims apparently refused to stop building a mosque near the home of the chief of a local Christian tribe.

Christians had said the mosque was an affront to them because its minaret was taller than the chief's palace.

Hundreds of people were killed last month in communal violence in Nigeria.

"A police report confirms that seven people were killed in the fight and scores were injured, while 20 houses and three mosques were burnt," Adamawa State spokesman Willie Zalwalie told AFP news agency.

The original mosque was destroyed in clashes last year and the Muslims, a minority in the area, were trying to rebuild it.

Mr Zalwalie said the Muslims had insisted on going ahead with the reconstruction, even though the local council had ordered work to be suspended, following a complaint from Chief Freddie Soditi Bongo of the Christian Bachama people.

Land disputes

At least 100 people were killed during clashes between Christians and Muslims in Adamawa State last year.

Religious tensions have risen since hundreds of Muslims were killed in the central town of Yelwa last month.

This sparked more clashes in the northern city of Kano.

At least 10,000 people have been killed in communal clashes in many parts of Nigeria since military rule ended in 1999.

Correspondents say that most of the clashes result from disputes over land or other economic resources between rival communities.

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Country profile: Nigeria
17 Dec 03  |  Country profiles

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