Muslim and Christian youths in Nigeria clashed again on Monday in the religiously volatile city of Jos [northern Nigeria], in what has been registered as the third bout of religious violence in the West African country since January. Security forces trying to restore order killed one Christian youth in the process, reports claimed.
Police spokesman Mohammed Lerama confirmed the attack, which he said appeared to have been staged on a group of Christians returning from a church meeting around 7:00 p.m. local time, in the Nassarawa Gwom area, the site of the January clashes
“Unknown to the Christian youths some people just blocked their way along the road and started chanting war songs. There was a clash, a very minor clash that led to the death of one youth, a Christian youth.” AFP quoted the Information Commissioner for Plateau State, Gregory Yenlong as saying.
“Security forces came in and brought the situation under control. Unfortunately it was the security forces that killed the youth,” Yenlong added.
The size of the clashing groups is yet to be established, however the military and police have been deployed to stamp out the unrest.
“Another person who was wounded was being treated for cuts, but we don’t know what caused the wounds. More forces have been deployed,” Yenlong told reporters.
Hundreds of people have died in sectarian violence in Jos and its surrounding villages since January. Since the beginning of the year, over 300 people [mostly Muslims] have died in religious based clashes, while an an estimated 500 people [mainly Christians] were also, reportedly, killed last month by Muslim Fulani cattle herders.
The divisions while bordering on religion is also heightened by a system that classifies some inhabitants as indigenes [Christians] and others [mainly Muslims] as settlers. Although the clashes take place between Muslims and Christians, analysts say the underlying causes are economic and political.
The city of Jos is divided into Christian and Muslim areas and has witnessed deadly riots in 2001, 2008 and 2010. Communities in Jos are divided along party lines.