It all started with a broken-down truck that Muslims saw as a provocation. Then the local imams apparently fueled anger at Christians during their sermons at Friday prayers. “Five killed in Christian-Muslim clashes in Nigeria,” from AFP, February 21 (thanks to Maxwell):
KANO, Nigeria (AFP) — Five people were killed and four injured Saturday in sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians over places of worship in northern Nigeria’s Bauchi state, residents said.
Government officials, however, blamed the violence on disaffected local politicians and said they had asked troops to take over security duties from the police in the immediate area affected.
Muslim youths attacked Christians and burned churches in reprisals over the burning of two mosques overnight in the state capital Bauchi, which the Muslims blamed on Christians, residents told AFP by telephone from Bauchi, 300 kilometres (200 miles) northeast of Abuja.
“I saw five dead bodies on the streets this morning, one of them was burnt,” resident Muazu Hardawa said.
“One of the dead bodies was one of five Muslim youths shot by police deployed to the area to restore calm when a mob insisted on burning a church,” he said.
Hardawa said three churches in nearby Kofar Dumi neighbourhood were burnt during the violence….
Tensions have risen in Bauchi since February 13 when members of a pentacostal church opposite a mosque in the area barricaded a pathway outside the church used by Muslims attending Friday prayers, residents said.
A truck had broken down in the middle of the road separating the church and the mosque, blocking the passage and the Muslims had to use a narrow path between the truck and the church, further inflaming tensions, according to resident Babayo Hassan.
He said a police detachment stationed in the area had to intervene by removing the barricades and appealing for calm on both sides.
“Angered by what they saw as provocation, an unprecedented number of Muslims attended the Friday prayers and the congregation overflowed to the church’s gate but there was no incident,” Hassan said.
“But around 3:00 a.m. two mosques in the area went up in flames. The Muslims accused the members of the church for the arson and enraged Muslim youths went on a rampage,” he added….