Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Nigeria riot-city resident describes violence

burning cars in Jos during riots

Thousands of people have fled their homes and scores of people have died in fighting between Muslims and Christians in the Nigeria city of Jos.

One resident spoke to the BBC's Network Africa programme via phone from his home near an army barracks where many people have sought shelter.

I saw a lot of smoke in the air, houses being burnt.

And I heard from women and children, who are coming towards the barracks where we live to the refugee camps, that there is a lot fighting going on.

You see them and you know that they are desperate

We saw a lot of security personnel moving up and down trying to quell the insurgents at different spots.

A 24-hour curfew has been in place in Jos, so most people are at home right now.

There are too many conflicting stories as to what caused the fight.

We know that it's a spill over from 2008 November when there was a religious crackdown after the elections so that is just what we know for now.

'Difficult to say'

We have noticed that there is a lot of security presence, from Sunday, so they are really doing what they can to quell the insurgents. There are also women and children seeking refuge at the NDLEA [National Drug Law Enforcement Agency] camp just not too far from where I live.

Patients being treated in a Jos hospital
At least 200 people are believed to have died in Jos

It is difficult to say because I have not been there [on the north of city where the smoke is coming from] myself.

But you see people coming in, coming this way, and there is a hospital in Lamingo, where wounded people and security personnel are being taken there for treatment. They are scared, cold, and maybe hungry because a lot of people have not had time to eat or pack or anything so you see them and you know that they are desperate.

'Spilled over'

That [the situation could degenerate again] is what we hear, but with the security presence now I think everything will be calm.


Oh yes, I do [feel safer] now.

Slightly, there is [a sense of tension simmering] because we hear that other parts of Jos, houses are being burnt.

So we hear that it is not just Jos just not now, it has spilled over to other neighbouring settlements as well.

But we know that the police force are doing a lot to calm and take care of the situation.

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