Latest Breaking News – Clashes broke out between Christians and Muslims in tense central Nigeria on Monday, with witnesses reporting a number of deaths as well as vehicles and at least two shops set ablaze.
“There are casualties, but the police will give that later,” said Yiljap Abraham, information commissioner for Plateau state, without specifying if anybody was killed.
Plateau state Police Commissioner Emmanuel Dipo Ayeni confirmed there had been some fighting.
“There were some skirmishes among the worshippers … The matter has been put under control,” he said.
Witnesses and local religious figures claimed varying numbers of deaths, but police could not immediately confirm them.
Musa Shuaibu, chairman of the local chapter of Jama’atu Nasril Islam, an umbrella body for Nigerian Muslims, said “so far we have recovered three dead bodies and our search teams are still looking for more dead and injured.”
Witnesses told AFP that a group of Muslims had gone to a prayer ground in the city of Jos, the capital of Plateau state, to mark the end of Ramadan when they were surrounded by residents of the Christian-dominated neighbourhood.
The residents would not allow them to leave and violence resulted, with motorcycles and cars burnt. An AFP journalist saw two shops burnt.
Gunshots could be heard, possibly from soldiers firing into the air in a bid to clear the crowds.
A witness said Christians involved in the clashes spoke of preventing Muslims from marking their holiday in revenge for a string of bombs that exploded in Jos on Christmas Eve last year.
Soldiers evacuated the Muslims who had gone to pray from the area.
Jos and the surrounding area has been hit by waves of violence between Christian and Muslim ethnic groups that have left hundreds dead in recent years.
The region lies in the so-called Middle Belt between the mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south of Africa’s most populous nation.