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Tuesday, 29 August, 2000, 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK
Four killed in Nigeria crash riot
Riots during a strike
Riots are commonplace in urban Nigeria
Four people have been killed in a violent demonstration on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

The demonstration followed a road accident on Monday in which more than 70 people were killed.

A correspondent for the BBC in Abuja said police fired tear gas at a peaceful demonstration and protesters responded by throwing missiles at the police.

One policeman was killed and officers responded by opening fire on the demonstrators, killing three of them.

The police say they dispersed the crowd, but deny any deaths occurred.

Crash cause

In the incident on Monday which sparked the protests a lorry crushed three buses after its breaks failed and it rolled backwards into a crowded bus station.

The vehicles immediately burst into flames.

Most of the dead were passengers in the buses.

Accidents occur regularly in Nigeria due to bad roads, disregard of traffic rules and poor driving.

At least 22 people were killed at the weekend in south west Nigeria when a fuel tanker smashed into a market.

Local discontent

Residents of the Nyanya district where the accident happened say there are frequent fatal accidents on the main road into the city centre where it runs through the district.

Nigerian street
Congestion is a problem in some Nigerian cities
They say the road is very narrow and extremely busy.

The protesters in Tuesday's demonstration were appealing to the federal government to widen the road.

Abuja is a city of contrasts and the gleaming city centre, which President Bill Clinton saw on his visit last weekend, bears little correlation to the high density outlying suburbs where most people live.

Here, poverty is widespread and social amenities are poor.

Nearly a third of Abuja's population is estimated to live in the Nyanya district.

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See also:

28 Apr 00 | African
Africa: Why so many accidents?
25 May 00 | Africa
Nigeria's year of turmoil
20 Nov 99 | Africa
Nigerian bus crash kills 22
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