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Christian-Muslim Clash Kills 9 in Eastern Nigeria

June 10, 2004|From Associated Press

ABUJA, Nigeria — At least nine people were killed and homes and places of worship were burned Wednesday as Christians and Muslims battled in the Nigerian town of Numan, witnesses and officials said.

Some witnesses said more than 50 people were killed in the dispute over a mosque that was built near a Christian tribal leader's palace. Police confirmed nine deaths.

Muslims and Christians fled the town, in eastern Nigeria, near the border with Cameroon. Authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Boni Haruna, the governor of Adamawa state, visited Numan on Wednesday, shedding tears as he toured the town's morgue. Many phone lines were down in the area.

Christians of the Bachama tribe had demanded for weeks that the area's minority Muslims destroy a mosque built this year near the palace of Bachama chief Freddie Soditi Bongo.

The tribe said the mosque's minaret was an affront because it was taller than the Christian leader's palace. Muslim leaders refused to destroy the mosque unless Christians paid for a new one elsewhere.

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