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Curfew Imposed After Muslim Youths Riot in Northern Nigeria - 2004-05-11

The northern Nigerian state of Kano has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew after mob violence by Muslim youths against Christians left up to 10 people dead.

Authorities in Kano imposed the curfew Tuesday to stop the violence, which also left several shops, homes and vehicles in minority Christian areas burned down.

Angry youths also set up barricades along main streets, stopping and beating people they believed were Christians.

The violence broke out early in the day after Muslim clerics in Kano called on the federal government to stop clashes in nearby Plateau state, where last week, several hundred Muslim ethnic Fulani-Hausa were killed by Christian ethnic Tarok fighters.

The Christian militia said they were retaliating for recent attacks by Muslim fighters in the same area. The government sent security reinforcements following the latest fighting.

However, the head of a Christian non-violent group in Plateau state, Joseph Sangosanya, said that too little has been done to defuse tensions since similar ethnic rivalries first erupted in the state capital Jos in 2001.

?I'm not surprised because the issues have not been addressed, so I'm not surprised,? he said. ?My position is that the issue is not pushing in forces, the military to quell the riots because it can only have a negative peace. To have a long lasting peace, it has to be engaged constructively.?

Human rights campaigners say negotiations at the grass-roots level are needed to address contentious ethnic claims over land, cattle and political power.

President Olusegun Obasanjo said Tuesday that enough was enough and that he would punish those behind the recent violence in Plateau state, after meeting with Muslim leaders in the capital Abuja.

Following Mr. Obasanjo's election in 1999 to end 15 years of military rule, about 10,000 Nigerians have been killed in intertwined religious, ethnic and communal violence.