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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Troublemakers Incite Violence in Nigeria

A new wave of violence has erupted in Nigeria as Muslims and Christians battled in the northern Bauchi state.

The latest incident saw Muslims attacking Christian places of worship after two mosques were set on fire. The Muslims blamed this on the local Christian population.

However, Government officials were blaming the violence on local politicians. "This is a crisis fomented by troublemakers intent on causing disaffection in the state," state governor Yuguda said in a radio broadcast."

It is fuelled by disgruntled political elements who do not wish the state well and the government will not condone it," he said, adding: "I have ordered soldiers to take over the restoration of normalcy in the affected area from the police."

Local sources suggest that this latest outbreak of violence, following riots in November, began when members of a Pentecostal church barricaded an approach to a mosque during Friday prayers. But some said the blockage was due to a broken-down truck, which blocked the passage of Muslim worshippers.

Government officials are concerned about the rising tensions after hundreds were killed last November in Jos in similar violence. Tensions in the region have been high for years and were exacerbated after several states in the north of Nigeria adopted Sharia law.

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