Nigeria: Northern Christians and Muslims in renewed violence

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Christians in a northern Nigerian state of Taraba, upset with a mosque in their neighborhood burned the house of worship to the ground, inciting a religious violence that claimed five lives. This comes shortly after a video of leader of notorious al-Qaeda linked group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau was posted online.

According to Taraba state, police commissioner Aliyu Musa, fighting erupted between Christian and Muslim youths on Tuesday, leaving at least five people dead.

The police moved into Wukari in Taraba on Wednesday morning, bringing an edgy calm to the community after several mosques and churches had been burnt down.

“As you have just seen, about a unit of mobile and general duty policemen are now on their way to Wukari. I am sending these mobile men there to increase the strength of the ones on ground so as to bring the situation under control,” Mr. Musa was quoted by reporters.

Trouble began after a mosque at the divisional police headquarters located in the local government council area headquarters complex was demolished by some Christian youths, according to the police commissioner Musa.

This led to led to a reprisal action by other Muslims, leading to substantial destruction of lives and properties, as local reported accounts of at least 15 wounded at public and private hospitals.

The riot reportedly led to the disturbance of traffic across major state and federal road networks.

Threat of new Islamic sect violence

The Authorities put a dusk-till-dawn curfew in place in hope of stopping retaliatory attacks after a radical Islamic sect made threats to launch a new wave of violence.

The Taraba State Police Command mobilized about three trucks of mobile policemen fully armed to the trouble zone.

This comes after Abubakar Shekau, leader of a Nigerian Islamist sect involved in deadly violence last year and thought to have been killed, posted a statement on a jihadist web site saying “jihad has just begun.”

Shekau whose sect, known as the Boko Haram, launched a crusade of violence in northern Nigeria last year in a bid to establish an Islamist state was thought dead by authorities until April this year.

The Boko Haram violent uprising which took place in July 2009 was stopped by the Nigerian army. At least 700 sect members were killed.

Since January, fighting between Christians and Muslims in central Nigeria has left more than 500 dead.

Nigeria’s 150 million people are divided into a Christian-dominated south and a Muslim-held north.

Since its return to democracy in 1999, the most populated African country, has experienced waves of religious violence between the two faiths over religious and political grounds.

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