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20 killed in sectarian violence in central Nigeria, official says

From Christian Purefoy, CNN
  • Tensions surfaced Monday over the Muslim holiday of Eid
  • Military forces were called in to calm the violence
  • The city of Jos lies on a faith-based fault line between the Muslim north and Christian south
  • Nigeria
  • Africa

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) -- Tensions between Christians and Muslims over the Muslim holiday Eid have resulted in the deaths of at least 20 people in the central Nigerian city of Jos, a government official said Tuesday.

Sectarian violence broke out Monday after Christian youths attacked Muslims trying to worship in a mosque that had been burned in previous clashes, according to Choji Gyang, special adviser to the Plateau state government for religious affairs.

The military was called in to stop the violence and shot into the crowd, Gyang said, adding that most of the deaths were caused by the military forces.

The city was largely calm Tuesday, but tensions remained and the military patrolled the streets.

The clashes are part of ongoing violence that began with Christmas Eve bomb blasts in two Christian communities in Jos, the state capital that lies on a faith-based fault line between Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria and the mainly Christian south.

Since then, dozens of Muslims and Christians have been targeted and killed based on their ethnic or religious identity, Human Rights Watch said this year.