JOS, Nigeria, Sept 1 (Reuters) - At least 22 people died in clashes between Christian and Muslim youths and security forces in the restive Nigerian city of Jos on Thursday, a local mortuary official said, in the second day of violence there this week.
“There was some fighting in the area of Dusu Uku ... between Christian and Muslim youths. We aren’t sure what happened but somewhere along the way the security forces got involved,” Mohammed Kabiro, who works at the central morgue that received the bodies, told Reuters by telephone.
“So far we have received 22 killed here at the morgue, mostly youths, but we are told there will be more on the way,” he said, adding that most of the bodies he had seen had gunshot wounds.
The spokesman for the Joint Military Taskforce in charge of security in Jos, Captain Charles Eckeocha, said he did not have information on the numbers of casualties.
“I don’t have the details of what happened, except some of our soldiers were fired on and injured. We requested for reinforcements to arrive and they did. The situation is calm now,” he said. Thirteen people died in clashes between Christian youths and Muslims celebrating the Eid-al-Fitr holiday in Jos on Monday, the army said.
It was not clear if this latest bout of violence was linked to that incident.
Jos, straddling the “Middle Belt” between Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north and the largely Christian south, is sometimes a flash point for ethnic and sectarian tensions between the two faiths.
The violence is an extra security headache for President Goodluck Jonathan, on top of near-daily attacks by a violent Islamist sect in the northeast, which authorities say was also behind Friday’s bomb attack on U.N. offices in Abuja that killed 23 people.
Nigeria has a roughly equal Christian-Muslim population and more than 200 ethnic groups live side-by-side in the West African country largely peacefully.