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Christians, Muslims protest at Nigeria sectarian unrest

Christians and Muslims on Monday staged back-to-back protest marches in Jos, a Nigerian central city rocked repeatedly by a wave of sectarian violence, an AFP reporter said.

Hundreds of women dressed in black took to the streets demanding the withdrawal of the army after soldiers fired at protesting students at the weekend.

“We don’t want the special task force again,” said Rhoda Wang, organiser of the protests said, referring to the military unit deployed in the region to end the clashes.

Hours later hundreds of young Muslim men poured out calling for the removal of the state governor Jonah Jang, a Christian they accuse of abetting the violence for political ends.

They chanted “Allahu Akbar (God is great)” and called for the declaration of a state of emergency while waving placards reading “Jang must go”. They accuse the Plateau State government of instigating violence against Muslims.

The women alleged the military was biased against Christians.

At least two people were killed and 24 people wounded after soldiers opened fire to disperse students protesting an attack on their friends by Muslim villagers at the weekend, according to police and hospital officials.

Muslim and Christian community leaders reported at least 20 deaths between the two faiths in weekend clashes in Jos and its environs. Some of the dead had bullet wounds while others had machete cuts.

The region has been hit by waves of violence in recent years that have killed scores of people, and there has been a sharp increase in clashes ahead of April elections.

Human Rights Watch said more than 200 people had been killed in Plateau state since Christmas Eve, when dozens died in a string of bombings and resulting clashes in Jos.

Copyright © 2011 AFP

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