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Curfew in Jos After Sectarian Violence

The central Nigerian city of Jos remains under a nighttime curfew following two days of Muslim-Christian violence that killed at least 200 people.

Officials said the security situation has improved, and relaxed a 24-hour curfew that was imposed in the worst-hit neighborhoods.

But army troops continue to patrol the streets as burials continue and thousands of Jos residents huddle in makeshift camps.

Many homes, churches, and mosques were burned in the two-day spasm of violence that began Friday. Witnesses said gangs divided on religious and ethnic lines attacked people with guns and machetes.

A Plateau state official said 200 people were killed, although other witnesses said the death toll was at least 400.

Sectarian violence has flared before in Jos, where the Muslim and Christian communities live in close proximity. Street fighting there in 2001 killed hundreds of people.

The latest violence began early Friday after local elections in which the mainly Christian People's Democratic Party defeated the predominantly Muslim All Nigeria People's Party.

Office-holders in Nigeria often control the awarding of government jobs and contracts, making such positions highly contested.

Plateau state lies in Nigeria's "middle belt" region that separates the country's predominantly Muslim north from the mainly Christian south.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.