March 8, 2010 in Nation/World

Scores killed over religion in Nigeria

Ahmed Saka And Jon Gambrell Associated Press
 

JOS, Nigeria – Rioters armed with machetes slaughtered more than 200 people overnight Sunday as religious violence flared anew between Christians and Muslims in central Nigeria, witnesses said. Hundreds of people fled their homes, fearing reprisal attacks.

The bodies of the dead – including many women and children – lined dusty streets in three mostly Christian villages south of the regional capital of Jos, local journalists and a civil rights group said. They said at least 200 bodies had been counted by Sunday afternoon.

Torched homes smoldered after the 3 a.m. attacks that a regionwide curfew enforced by the country’s police and military should have stopped.

The killings represent the latest religious violence in an area once known as Nigeria’s top tourist destination, adding to the tally of thousands killed in the last decade over religious and political ambitions.

Jos lies in Nigeria’s “middle belt,” where dozens of ethnic groups mingle in a band of fertile and hotly contested land separating the Muslim north from the predominantly Christian south.

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