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Mosques, churches torched in Nigeria communal clashes

The violence erupted when a fence of a Muslim praying ground was brought down by unknown persons, who Muslims suspected to be Christians in the area, the local residents said.

11.05.2014
Mosques, churches torched in Nigeria communal clashes

ABUJA

A number of mosques and churches have been reportedly burnt in Kachia town of Nigeria's northwest Kaduna State as sectarian clashes erupted between Muslim and Christian youths, local residents said.

The violence erupted when a fence of a Muslim praying ground was brought down by unknown persons, who Muslims suspected to be Christians in the area, the local residents said.

The violence left no casualties, according to police spokesman Aminu Lawal who spoke to newsmen in the state's capital city, Kaduna.

"A 24-hour curfew has been imposed on the town and normalcy has now returned. Our men are fully [deployed] on the ground there. No lives were lost but we do not have the exact figure of places of worships burnt," Lawal added.

An eyewitness told AA that the violence broke out when Muslim youths discovered that the fence earlier reconstructed after pervious damage had again been demolished.

"Two weeks ago, some Muslim youths went to fence a prayer-ground to prevent encroachment of people into the ground but they couldn’t finish the work that day, and when they went back they discovered that a portion of the fence was demolished by unknown persons," said the local resident who asked not to be named.

“The youths alerted the local government chairman Peter Agaite and he promised to repair the damaged portion, but failed to do so.

“Today when the youth went back to continue the work, they saw another portion of the fence being damaged again. And out of suspicion, they demolished a nearby church."

In retaliation, a group of Christian youths demolished a local mosque. "There was tension and panic everywhere in Kachia and its environs," he said.

Another local resident Kura Mualimu told AA that "two mosques and churches were burnt while six people were injured in scuffles before the policemen arrived."

Kaduna is notorious for Muslim-Christian tensions largely on the background of political rivalry between the two communities.

By Rafiu Ajakaye

englishnews@aa.com.tr

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