Death Toll Rises in Central Nigeria

The BBC reports on the latest incident of violence in central Nigeria. The escalation of this dispute shows how tense the region has become, with reprisals drawing both Christians and Muslims into a cycle of violence:

Sectarian clashes in Nigeria sparked by a dispute over a game of billiards have left four people dead and dozens of buildings on fire, police say.

The trouble broke out in Tafawa Balewa in central Nigeria, a region that has seen an upsurge in violence between Christians and Muslims.

Five mosques and about 50 homes were set alight as Christian and Muslim youths fought each other.

Police eventually restored order, using roadblocks to contain the violence.

Police commissioner Abdulkadir Mohammed Indabawa said the dispute began on Wednesday night with a disagreement over money between the Christian owner of the billiards table and a Muslim player.

Although the row was settled through mediation by local elders, the table was later burned.

“The Christian youths accused Muslims of the act, which prompted them to go about burning houses and mosques,” said Mr Indabawa.

“Clashes followed between Muslim and Christian groups and four people were killed as a result.”

Tafawa Balewa lies close to Jos (see map below, with both cities marked), which has been a flashpoint for violence in the past decade. Reuters gives some further context:

There have been almost daily clashes between Christian and Muslim mobs in villages around Jos, the capital of Plateau state, since a series of bombs were detonated during Christmas Eve celebrations a month ago, killing scores of people.

At least 12 people were killed in the latest attack on mostly Christian villages near Barkin Ladi, just outside Jos, late on Wednesday.

For further background, see these pieces by Human Rights Watch and the BBC.

Jos is the point further west, Tafawa Balewa the point further east:

One thought on “Death Toll Rises in Central Nigeria

  1. Pingback: Death Toll Rises in Central Nigeria « Sahel Blog | Naija Update - Latest news updates from Nigeria

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