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Hundreds killed in Nigerian violence

JOS, Nigeria, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Christians and Muslims engaged in deadly riots in central Nigeria after a local election, with the unconfirmed death toll said to be in the hundreds Saturday.

The BBC reported a local imam, Sheik Khalid Abubakar, said more than 300 bodies were brought to the Muslim mosque Saturday alone. Victims among the Christian population would probably be taken to the city morgue, meaning the death toll could be much higher, the British network said.

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Police spokesman Bala Kassim was quoted as saying there were "many dead," but a firm number wasn't available.

Police imposed a 24-hour curfew and soldiers empowered with shoot-on-sight orders were patrolling streets after mobs torched homes, churches and mosques for a second day in a row Saturday, the BBC said.

There was no official confirmation of the death toll, however, and the BBC noted such figures are commonly unreliable in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Red Cross estimated at least 10,000 people had fled their homes.

The All Nigeria People's Party, comprised mostly of Muslims, had contested the results of the state elections in Plateau state, which showed the People's Democratic Party, the mostly Christian-backed governing group, had retained control. Jos is the state's capital.

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The violence broke out Thursday night.

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