Friday 20 April 2018

Death toll in Nigerian reprisals rises to 100

Haruna Umar in Maiduguri, Nigeria

A CURFEW in a flashpoint state in northern Nigeria, which has been torn apart by religion, has failed to stop days of continuing violence which has led to almost 100 deaths.

Residents of another besieged city said a curfew imposed there has left them trapped at home. A rescue services official said more than 98 people have died since Sunday after a trio of church bombings sparked reprisals in Kaduna state.

A radical sect known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks on churches in the cities of Zaria and Kaduna, setting off violence that eclipsed the original attacks.

The reprisals in the Nigerian flashpoint state highlight festering religious tensions in the nation of more than 160 million people. Kaduna sits at the border between the predominantly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south.

As news of the church attacks filtered through the city on Sunday morning, young Christians took to the streets in violent protest. An AP reporter saw smoke billowing over a mosque in a predominantly Christian part of the city.

People mounted illegal roadblocks and were seen harassing motorists, while a motorcycle taxi rider lay seriously hurt and bleeding by the roadside. Police said about 1,000 Muslims took refuge at police quarters.

As soon as the state government relaxed the curfew on Monday, Muslims fought back. The violence then spread to both Muslim and Christian neighbourhoods beyond Kaduna to remote parts of the state, and prompting the government to reimpose a round-the-clock curfew.

Irish Independent

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