Plateau state violence: Churches and mosques burnt in Nigeria as curfew imposed in Mangu

Mosques and churches have been burnt in Nigeria’s central Plateau state after a row over cattle turned deadly.

Eight people died in the clashes in Mangu when cattle escaped on to a road where they were blocking traffic.

The state governor has imposed a 24-hour curfew there to halt the violence, though burials are being allowed for those who died.

This central region is prone to inter-communal tension that often boils over into religious and ethnic violence.

Plateau is where the mainly Muslim north meets the largely Christian south and many communities are mixed.

The clashes on Tuesday in Mangu, which is 74km (45 miles) south-east from the state capital, Jos, involved people from the Fulani and Mwagaful ethnic groups.

Journalist Ado Musa, who visited the area for the Daily Trust newspaper, told the BBC that six mosques and two churches were burnt down in the mayhem.

The trouble began after some armed thieves tried to steal cattle belonging to the Fulani, he said.

The attempted robbery was unsuccessful, but when the cows escaped during the fracas, in which shots were fired, it caused chaos on the roads, upsetting other residents.

“Before you could say ‘Jack’ violence erupted which led to deaths and destruction,” Musa said.

Young men from both the Christian Mwagaful community and the Muslim Fulani targeted places of worship.

There are unconfirmed reports that the clashes are continuing on Wednesday despite the curfew.

More than 100 people lost their lives in similar violence in another part of Plateau state over Christmas.

The clashes in Mangu are unrelated to the political unrest that was witnessed in Jos on Tuesday when police fired tear gas at some politicians who were trying to gain access to the local state assembly.

They were angry that they had been removed from power by a court that ruled that their election last March was unlawful.

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