Religious riots spread in Nigeria, 11 dead

LAGOS, Nigeria -- The military imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew Wednesday in a north0central state of Nigiera where nearly a week of religious rioting has left at least 11 people dead.

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Augustus Aikhomu, the military chief of staff, told reporters the death toll had risen from nine to 11 in the rioting in Kaduna state.

The violence reportedly began when a Christian preacher quoted from the Koran, the holy book of the Islamic faith.

In recent years several hundred people have been killed in religous clashes in northern Nigeria.

The government said Wednesday the curfew was imposed on all of Kaduna state and schools there had been shut with immediate effect.

Radio Kaduna said the riots, which began in the town of Kafanchan where nine were killed, had spread to Kaduna town, the state's capital, and the cities of Zaria, Katsina and Funtua.

Aikhomu said two people had also been killed in Zaria. The chief of staff, the regime's No. 2 man, said police and military patrols had taken control of troubled areas and rioters were being rounded up and jailed.

The trouble began Friday when a Christian preacher at Kafanchan College reportedly quoted from the Koran during a student meeting. Moslem students later attacked a Christian congregation in the college, according to news reports.


Tension persisted through the weekend when Moslem mobs attacked worshippers in a church in Kafanchan which is located some 400 miles northeast of Lagos.

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