(Updates with military comment in third paragraph.)
Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- At least 42 people died in Nigeria’s central city of Jos in four days of clashes between Christian and Muslim ethnic groups, religious leaders said.
Twenty Christians were killed by gunshots and machetes, according to Abraham Hassan, a spokesman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, while the corpses of 22 Muslims are in the city’s central mosque, Sabo Shuaib, spokesman for the Jama’tul Nasril Islam group, said today by phone.
“The whole metropolis is infested with weapons, Muslims and Christians are shooting at each other,” Brigadier General Hassan Umar, commander of the military task force in Jos, said today by phone. “They’re even shooting at our soldiers.” The clash was triggered by a sniper attack on a pedestrian, Bashir Abdullahi, an eyewitness, said in an interview late yesterday.
A group known as Boko Haram, or “Western education is a sin,” has carried out a series of attacks, including multiple bomb blasts on Christmas Eve in Jos that killed 80 people, in its bid to establish Islamic rule in northern Nigeria.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and most populous nation of about 150 million people, is roughly split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south. More than 14,000 people died in ethnic and religious clashes in the West African nation between 1999 and 2009, according to the Brussels- based International Crisis Group.
--With assistance from Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja. Editors: Karl Maier, Nasreen Seria
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