At least 65 killed in ongoing Nigerian political clashes

November 30th, 2008 - 12:39 am ICT by IANS  

Abuja, Nov 29 (DPA) Seven students were among those killed Saturday in Jos, the capital city of central Nigeria’s Plateau State, as the death toll from two days of political clashes rose to 65.Reports said more than 75 people have been killed since the clashes over council elections began Friday, but a police spokesman for the state, Bala Kassim, said that he could only confirm about 65.

Gun battles between security agents and the protesters continued as the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission announced Saturday that the ruling People’s Democratic Party won in 16 of the 17 council areas of the state.

The violence was sparked by a delay in the announcement of the results, prompting suspicions of fraud.

Kassim said some of those killed were students from various tertiary institutions located in the city.

“The violence is no respecter of class of citizen, but I know that some of the bodies deposited in mortuaries across the town are students,” he said.

The violence is between indigenous Christians and Muslim settlers. Jos has a history of sectarian violence. Mosques, churches and other properties have been razed to the ground during the clashes.

Kassim said the police deployed more armoured vehicles “to comb the city” and ensure that the situation was brought quickly under control.

More armoured police vehicles arrived in Jos Saturday morning to beef up security and help put down the political violence.

Traffic began to pick up Saturday as many residents went in search of food and other essentials to beat the curfew imposed by Governor Jang Friday. The dusk-to-dawn curfew begins at 6 pm every day.

Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua Friday ordered the Nigerian military to take charge in Jos as the violence worsened.

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