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Sunday, July 25, 1999 Published at 19:09 GMT 20:09 UK

World: Africa

Ethnic violence returns to Kano

A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed by the authorities in the northern Nigerian city of Kano following more ethnic violence.

According to local officials, at least 16 people were killed in overnight clashes between Nigeria's two largest ethnic groups, the Hausas and the Yorubas.

Local police said that five of the dead had been beheaded, and there were reports of two Yoruba taxi drivers burnt to death in their taxis.

The BBC's Barnaby Phillips: Officials anxious about further ethnic unrest
Hausas are the dominant community in Kano, northern Nigeria's largest city, while Yorubas are dominant in the south-west of the country.

Most Yorubas are Christian, while Hausas are mainly Muslim.

The unrest was reported to have broken out late on Saturday in the outlying Bachaiwara district, an area inhabited mainly by non-Hausa people.

Tension began building on Saturday night when thousands of Yorubas began moving out of protection of police and army barracks, where they had fled after attacks last week, and back into their homes.

Crowds of Hausas began charging into the Yoruba neighborhoods, police officials said.

Residents said many houses were burnt down, while several cars were destroyed and shops looted.

The fighting follows violence on Thursday in which at least three people were killed.

Calm returns

Tension between the Hausas and Yorubas has been high since fighting in the southern city of Sagamu last weekend, in which at least 50 people died.

Local officials said Kano state governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso had called a security council meeting to seek urgent measures to contain the clashes.

Kano was reported to be calm on Sunday, with cars and buses moving freely.

However, several thousand non-Hausas were said to have sought protection in police stations, fearing further unrest.

In Lagos, State Governor Bola Tinubu appealed for calm in a televised address.

"We must not allow ourselves to be used as tools in the hands of these enemies of progress, freedom and democracy," he said.

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