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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Nigerian Religious Clashes Leave More Than 400 Dead, Group Says - Bloomberg.com
"Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Clashes between Muslims and Christians in the central Nigerian city of Jos have killed more than 400 people and injured 4,000 more, a domestic human rights group said. Most of the fighting in three days of violence occurred in the city’s poor neighborhoods where security forces arrived late, Shehu Sani, president of the Civil Rights Congress, said today by phone from Jos. Earlier, New York-based Human Rights Watch put the death toll at 216. Hospitals are overwhelmed and have run out of supplies to treat the injured, Sani said. Nigerian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the police and army to “immediately” contain the crisis, Aliyu Bilbis, minister of state for information, told reporters today in Abuja, the capital. The government is “greatly concerned, worried and disturbed” about the situation in Jos, he said. “This is not the first outbreak of deadly violence in Jos, but the government has shockingly failed to hold anyone accountable,” Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in an e-mailed statement. The Nigerian government should investigate the cause of the violence and the excessive use of force by the security forces trying to quell the clashes and punish those responsible for the killings, the rights group said. Jonathan is overseeing the government response because President Umaru Yar’Adua has been in a Saudi Arabian hospital for almost two months receiving treatment for a heart ailment. Ethnic Groups While Muslim leaders reported 80 deaths yesterday, in addition to 71 who died in the first two days of fighting, Christian officials have counted 65 deaths, Human Rights Watch said, citing “credible reports” from the city. More than 5,000 people have fled their homes in the Plateau state capital, it said. Sani said the violence had displaced 60,000 people. "