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The BBC's Barnaby Phillips
"Gangs of youths have gone house to house"
 real 28k

Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Kaduna settles down
Nigerian special forces patrolling Kaduna after the February riots
Nigerian special forces helped restore order in February
Calm has returned to the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, after more than 200 people reportedly died in religious violence earlier this week.

Large number of troops and police were still out on the streets on Thursday morning, as the city emerged from a night-time curfew.

But people were seen going out to work for the first time since the trouble broke out on Monday and a number of businesses and markets have re-opened.

The Kaduna state governor, Ahmed Markafi, has been summoned for urgent talks about the violence with President Obasanjo.

Arrests

Police say they have arrested more than 100 people, including some wearing fake army uniforms.

Mobile courts have been set up to try people carrying arms illegally or violating the curfew imposed on Tuesday.


Hundreds of buildings were set on fire during the two days of clashes between Christians and Muslims.

Hospital sources told Reuters news agency that more than 200 people had died, while the head of a local inter-religious group, James Wuye, put the figure at 300.

The police, who are sticking to a figure of 43 deaths, are reported to have been ordered not to reveal the full toll for fear of sparking revenge killings.

Officials said that dozens of the victims, many burnt beyond recognition, were buried in a mass grave on Wednesday to take pressure off hospital mortuaries.

National implications

In a statement, the Nigerian government said it was profoundly touched by the tragic events in Kaduna.

President Obasanjo, who is a Christian, said that and his Muslim vice-president would work together to restore harmony.

The state governor, Ahmed Markafi, told the BBC that if anything were to go "massively wrong" in a political and security centre like Kaduna, "it is likely even to bring down the civilian government at the federal level".

Policeman in Kaduna
1,000 people died in February's violence
For his part, Mr Markafi blamed rumours for aggravating the violence. He said rumours had even circulated that he himself had been killed, in order to heighten Muslim-Christian tension.

Police say the latest clashes broke out after residents of a mainly Christian neighbourhood blamed Muslims for the killing of a local man.

Three months ago, more than 1,000 people in Kaduna were killed in clashes over plans to implement Islamic law, or sharia, in some northern Nigerian states.

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Holy conflict
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See also:

25 May 00 | Africa
Nigeria's year of turmoil
24 May 00 | Africa
'200 dead' in Kaduna riots
27 Jan 00 | Africa
The many faces of Sharia
20 Jan 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Islamic law raises tension in Nigeria
22 Feb 00 | Africa
Nigerian troops tackle rioters
28 Feb 00 | Africa
Obasanjo visits riot city
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