Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Violent clashes in Plateau State leave 16 dead

According to Nigerian officials at least 16 people have been killed in violent clashes between rival groups in Plateau State. Two predominantly Christian villages, Babale and Dabwak, were attacked on Sunday 4th September. More than 10 people were killed in the village of Tatu the night before. It is estimated that as many as a 1000 people have died as a result of violent clashes between ethnic groups in Jos in the last two years.

It is widely thought that the violence is prompted by religious motives but some say that it is also triggered by political rivalry. In Plateau State which surrounds Jos, Hausa-speaking Muslims are seen as supporters of the opposition, while ethnic Beroms, who are mostly Christian, are perceived to favour the governing People's Democratic Party (PDP).

On Monday 5th September, youths protested on the outskirts of Jos demanding an end to the violence. Police fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protesters. People are fleeing Jos amid fears for their safety.

Government spokesman Pam Ayiba said 12 people were killed in the attack in Babale, about 10km north of Jos, and another four in Dabwak, about 60km south of the city.More than 40 Muslims and Christians were killed in Jos city last Thursday.

Jos's Catholic Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama and Muslim leader Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir made a new appeal for peace, but various initiatives to end the decade-long conflict have failed.

Sources: BBC News, Bloomberg, Reuters

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

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