Enugu (Nigeria), Feb. 24 (Reuters): Muslim and Christian mobs took to the streets of three Nigerian cities today and killed at least four people, extending a week of tit-for-tat religious riots that have claimed at least 150 lives.
Uncertainty over Nigeria’s political future is aggravating regional, ethnic and religious rivalries ahead of elections next year. Christian youths armed with machetes and clubs attacked Muslims in the southeastern city of Enugu, beating one Muslim motorcycle taxi driver to death. In the northern town of Kotangora, Muslim mobs killed three people, torched nine churches and looted shops, police said.
The Christian rioters in Enugu laid siege to a bank where two Muslims from the Hausa ethnic group were hiding. Police fired tear gas at the crowd, but failed to dislodge them.
Eyewitness Obinna Uche said: “A group of boys are laying siege to the bank because two Hausa men work there. They want to kill them. Police are trying to get them out safely and take them to army barracks, but the boys won’t go away.”
In northeastern Potiskum, Islamic youths burned shops, churches and houses belonging to minority Christians early today. Police said 65 rioters were arrested. The religious violence first broke out last Saturday in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, when a Muslim protest against Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad ran out of control.