- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

LAGOS, Nigeria — Armed mobs went on the rampage in two Nigerian cities yesterday in clashes between Christians and Muslims, and a newspaper reported at least 500 people had died in five days of violence.
Clashes that erupted Friday in the central city of Jos between rampaging gangs of Christian and Muslim youths flared again yesterday after a day of calm, health workers and residents said.
"Renewed fighting broke out this morning in the Nassarawa district" of Jos, said Abiodun Orebiyi, acting secretary-general of the Nigerian Red Cross.
Dead and wounded had been taken to hospitals with machete and gunshot wounds, he said, declining to give firm figures.
A Nigerian newspaper, the state-run Daily Times, reported yesterday that more than 500 victims of the violence in Jos had been given a mass burial after dark on Monday.
The bodies were taken to the Zaria Road cemetery in three trucks by heavily armed soldiers and buried under supervision of government officials. The area was cordoned off to prevent news of the toll emerging and sparking reprisals, the paper said.
Meanwhile, new fighting in Jos continued.
"It is getting bad now in Jos. The Muslims have regrouped and they are fighting," said a Christian resident reached by telephone, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"More houses are getting burned. More people are getting killed," said the man who gave his name only as Oliver.
"Things are getting tough. The tension is very high. Soldiers are patrolling and firing in the air to bring the situation under control," a police official said.
In Jos, residents who had hidden indoors since the weekend ventured out Tuesday, moving warily. More cars were seen on the streets, but fuel was in short supply and most filling stations were closed. Shops and stalls remained shut.
"I am leaving," said one young woman standing at a roadside on the outskirts, her possessions packed in a bundle carried on her head.
"I have to trek. I have no fuel for my car and there is no transport in the city," said the woman, a Christian, who declined to give her name.
"It will take a long time for this place to be really back to normal, a long time," she said.
As fighting resumed in Jos yesterday, it also erupted in the northern city of Kano where hundreds of Muslim youths attacked two churches overnight, a reporter on the scene said.
Holy Trinity Catholic Church and the Overcomers Sanctuary Pentecostal Church in the Shagari Quarters section of Kano were both attacked overnight, church leaders reported.

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