January 18, 2010 / 5:46 AM / 10 years ago

Nigerian police restore calm in Jos after clashes

Nigeria military personnel clash with militant youths in Onitsha, southeastern Nigeria February 22, 2006. REUTERS/George Esiri

JOS, Nigeria (Reuters) - Violence in the central Nigerian city of Jos subsided on Monday, police said, a day after at least 12 people were killed in clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs.

No fighting overnight was reported but an evening curfew was still in place to ease tensions and prevent a repeat of the November 2008 clashes that killed hundreds of Jos residents.

“The situation is under control. I don’t know why some people do not want peace in Plateau state,” said Gregory Anyating, the state’s police commissioner.

Residents said Sunday’s violence started after an argument over the rebuilding of homes destroyed in the 2008 clashes, which was the worst fighting between Muslims and Christians in years in Africa’s most populous country.

Nigeria has roughly the same number of Christians and Muslims, although traditional animist beliefs underpin many people’s faiths.

More than 200 ethnic groups generally live peacefully side by side in the West African country, although civil war left one million people dead between 1967 and 1970 and there have been bouts of religious unrest since then.

At least 40 people were killed last month in clashes between Nigerian security forces and members of an Islamic sect in the northern city of Bauchi.

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