Tuesday, 13 September 2011

President Jonathan keen to stop religious conflict in Plateau state

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has instructed the military to take “all necessary actions" in order to stop religious conflict in Plateau state. The initiative follows two bomb explosions in the state capital city of Jos.

It is estimated that as many as 100 people have been killed in the past two weeks during violent clashes between Muslim and Christian rival groups. The ongoing tensions have continued despite a strong police presence in the state.

Rival gangs have clashed in Plateau state repeatedly over the last 10 years.

Jonathan's office issued a statement saying the President has ordered Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin "to take full charge of the security situation in Plateau State immediately and take all necessary actions to stop the recent spate of killings in the state".

According to Nigerian officials, the two blasts went off at a packed outdoor eatery in the centre of Jos on Sunday night. According to AFP, at least one person was injured in the process. More than 1,000 people have been killed in religious and ethnic violence in Jos over the past two years.

Plateau state is situated in Nigeria's so-called Middle Belt, between the mainly Muslim north and the Christian south. Hausa-speaking Muslims are seen as supporters of the opposition in Plateau state, while ethnic Beroms, who are mostly Christian, are perceived to favour the People's Democratic Party (PDP).

Sources: BBC News, Bloomberg, WSJ

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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