Abuja, Sep 3: Violent clashes between members of the Muslim and Christian communities have claimed at least 42 lives in Nigeria’s sensitive Jos city, with residents blaming soldiers for causing a number of casualties by shooting indiscriminately.
Inhabitants of the city said 42 people died from both communities when clashes broke out and soldiers who came in to control the situation did most of the killings by shooting into the rampaging crowd.
The military, however, did not say anything on the number of people killed, only stating that the situation has been brought under control.
Several injured persons were taken to hospitals in the city but a resident, Frank Ojukwu, told media on phone that soldiers invaded the hospitals to arrest those admitted for treatment.
The clash was a continuation of a fracas that broke out on Wednesday when a group of Muslims, on their way to offer Eid prayers, were confronted by members of the other community.
More than 40 vehicles and 100 motorcycles were also burnt during the fracas. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the police confirmed the clashes.
“Fighting broke out between members of two different religious organisations but the police has succeeded in putting it under control,” Plateau state commissioner, Dipo Ayeni said.
The clashes are seen as a reprisal for the Christmas eve bombings that hit two parts of the city.
Early this month, 10 people were killed in overnight attacks in Jos, sparking protest from angry youths who took to the roads.
Several people have died in internecine conflicts involving ethnic Fulanis and Beroms in Jos and its environs.
Sometimes the ethnic clashes assume religious colour. While a majority of the Fulanis are Muslims, the Beroms are mostly Christians.