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Nigerian soldiers shoot students

Soldiers in a central Nigerian city opened fire on university students protesting continuing violence between Christians and Muslims, witnesses said, with at least nine people killed in the ensuing violence.

The shooting came as petrol stations and farmers' markets smouldered after violence that sparked when Christian students attacked Muslims trying to bury a corpse in Jos, a city at the epicentre of tensions between Nigeria's two dominant faiths.

One Muslim died in that attack, which sparked retaliatory assaults on Christian churches in the region.

This is the latest violence in Jos and its surrounding villages, a region once known as a holiday spot for British colonialists and as a tin mining town.

Human Rights Watch said at least 1,000 people died in 2010 and another 200 more have died within the last month in violence largely fuelled by ethnic, economic and political disputes.

Witnesses said students marched toward soldiers, upset over the deaths of the fellow classmates. A student leader said two students had died - one stabbed by a rioter, another shot dead.

Brigadier General Hassan Umaru told journalists that soldiers opened fire because the students had refused to return to the University of Jos campus. Brig Gen Umaru said he had no information about any deaths in the shooting.

Muslim rioters tore down a Baptist church and another Christian church was set ablaze, said Mark Lipdo, who runs a non-profit Christian organisation in the city. Mr Lipdo said three others had been killed in the violence, including a seven-year-old child.

Lawyer Ahmed Garba, who represents an Islamic group in the region, said four bodies had been brought to the city's central mosque. Mr Garba said mosque officials continued to look for wounded and dead people in the streets.

As many as 13 people died overnight after gunmen attacked four Christian villages near Jos. The city has been on edge since a series of bombs exploded there on Christmas Eve, killing dozens.


From Belfast Telegraph