nigeria-poolRiots in the Nigerian city of Jos have left one policeman and several civilians dead the day after elections for the local council, police say. A local journalist told the BBC that Muslim opposition supporters had gone on the rampage when they heard their candidate to head the council had lost.

This sparked unrest in the religiously divided city, with Christians burning mosques and Muslims burning churches. In 2001, more than 1,000 people died in religious clashes in the city. “Very early this morning a group of protesters macheted to death a policeman,” one witness told Reuters news agency.

A police spokesman confirmed to the BBC that one officer had died. A lecturer at the University of Jos said smoke could be seen from burning tires and buildings. “From where I’m standing I can see smoke coming from all over the city,” Victor Dugga told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

He added that people are very worried as there has been no information on the local media about the violence. “We have three radio stations in Jos and they are only playing music and telling us about what happened yesterday. Nobody is telling us what happened now,” he said.

Local journalist Senan Murray told the BBC’s Hausa Service that Muslims in the city tend to support the opposition ANPP and Christians the ruling PDP. In 2004, a state of emergency was declared in Plateau State, of which Jos is the capital, after more than 200 Muslims were killed in the town of Yelwa in attacks by Christian militia.

Correspondents say communal violence in Nigeria is complex, but it often boils down to competition for resources such as land between those that see themselves as the true “indigenes” of an area, and those that are considered to be more recent “settlers”. In Plateau State, Christians are regarded as the indigenes and Hausa-speaking Muslims the settlers.



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