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Bombs detonated in strife-torn city

At least two bombs have detonated near beer halls in a rough neighbourhood of a central Nigerian city beset by religious and ethnic violence, causing unknown injuries, witnesses said.

The bombs exploded at about 9pm local time on Sunday in an area of Jos known as West of Mines, a seedy neighbourhood filled with outdoor beer parlours, food stands and brothels, witnesses said.

After the explosions, panicked bystanders fled into the night, with cars racing away from the blast running down fleeing patrons, witness Peter Nwabuochi said.

Captain Charles Ekeocha, a spokesman for the military force tasked with keeping peace in the city, confirmed the bombs exploded.

Capt Ekeocha declined to offer injury figures, promising to give more details today.

Local police officials did not answer calls for comment late last night. State government spokesman Pam Ayuba could not be reached for comment.

Jos is the capital of Plateau state, which sits in Nigeria's "middle belt", where dozens of ethnic groups vie for power.

The city has been at the epicentre of religious and ethnic violence in the country, straddling the dividing line between Nigeria's largely Christian south and Muslim north.

The Jos violence, though fractured across religious lines, often has more to do with local politics, economics and rights to grazing lands.

The government of Plateau state is controlled by Christian politicians who have blocked Muslims from being legally recognised as citizens.

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