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The BBC's Barnaby Phillips in Abidjan
"Several thousand Hausa people are still in the barracks in Ajegunle"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 18 October, 2000, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Lagos calm after city centre riots
victim of the Hausa/Yoruba clashes
Nearly 100 people have died in the ethnic clashes
Calm returned to the parts of Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos that have been worst affected by ethnic clashes in which nearly 100 people have died.

But skirmishes erupted in the city's business district forcing paramilitary police to fire in the air to disperse rioters.

Eyewitnesses who travelled through Ajegunle say soldiers have been removing corpses from the streets.


We have decided that a joint military patrol should be drafted to restore law and order

Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu
The Red Cross said the final death toll in the skirmishes is expected to be higher.

The violence began on Sunday in the Ijora district in Lagos when members of a militant Yoruba group OPC, pursuing suspected criminals, attacked a settlement populated mostly by Hausa-Fulanis.

The OPC members had battled with the police in Ilorin, central Nigeria, on the previous day as they attempted to install their own Yoruba chief to replace the appointed Hausa-Fulani leader.

'Hoodlums'

Senior military and police officers held joint patrols to contain the unrest in the central Island area of Lagos.

Lagos skyline
Violence spilled into Lagos city centre desrupting business
Witnesses said the rioters in the city centre appeared to be neighbourhood gangs of unemployed youths known as "Area Boys" taking advantage of the ethnic clashes.

"Some people who I believe are hoodlums were just throwing broken glass and bottles to scare away the shop owners," one shop owner said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the central area, but shops, offices and some banks were hurriedly closed.

In the Ajegunle district heavily armed police and soldiers continued to man checkpoints.

Peace pact

Hausas
Thousands of Hausas fled to military barracks for protection
Many streets were still strewn with bodies, and burnt cars, buses and and debris from torched buildings.

Markets in the area were said to be reopening though thousands of Hausas are still in military barracks where they sought protection to avoid Yoruba attacks.

The Lagos state governor Bola Tibubu met leaders of Nigeria's three main ethnic groups - the Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba - on Tuesday.

The groups signed a peace pact and called for an end to the violence.

But correspondents say the city is still gripped by an atmosphere of panic.

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See also:

18 Oct 00 | Africa
Eyewitness: Carnage in Lagos
18 Oct 00 | Africa
Nigeria: A nation divided?
17 Oct 00 | Africa
Curfew follows Nigerian violence
01 Mar 00 | Africa
Nigerian riots kill hundreds
28 Nov 99 | Africa
Nigeria riots 'killed 100'
25 May 00 | Africa
Nigeria's year of turmoil
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