21 Dead in Nigeria Religious Riots

Violence has spanned almost a week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 2, 2011 10:20 AM CDT
21 Dead in Nigeria Religious Riots
A Nigerian soldier stands guard in an armored carrier during Friday prayers outside the central mosque in Jos, Nigeria, Friday, Jan. 22, 2010.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

(Newser) – Religious rioting in the troubled central Nigeria city of Jos has killed at least 21 people in recent days, as authorities seem to be unable to curb the rising violence. An AP journalist counted the bodies awaiting burial at the city's central mosque today. Doctors at a university hospital collected at least 12 bodies bearing gunshot and machete wounds; another 82 people were wounded in fighting in the city, said a hospital boss. It is unclear if the 12 dead at the hospital were included among the dead collected at the mosque.

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The violence began Monday in Jos, on the volatile dividing line between Nigeria's largely Christian south and Muslim north. A group of rioters attacked Muslims praying over the end of Ramadan in a primarily Christian neighborhood, using knives, machetes, and bows and arrows, officials said. Though army and police units moved into the affected neighborhood, the violence spilled into other neighborhoods as the unrest continued throughout the week. Days earlier, a UN building in Nigeria was bombed. (Read more Nigeria stories.)

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