Dozens of Christians killed in recent Christian Muslim riots in Nigeria.


JOS, Nigeria. The Muslims saved many Christians in the communal riots in Nigeria, which are among daily incidents after implementation of Islamic laws in the country since 1999. The Christians and Muslims were living in harmony and playing positive r

``There were so many bodies,'' said Muhuyiddeen Jibrin, a Muslim stall owner, who said he watched six people - one, his neighbor - gunned down in a single exchange between Christians and Muslims. ``I don't know how I'll ever sleep.''

Jos, a predominantly Christian city of 4 million with a large Muslim minority, has long been a base for foreign Christian missions owing to its climate, its beauty.

That all shattered Friday night, when what had been growing Muslim-Christian tensions exploded over what some said was a simple bit of rudeness.

Introduction of Sharia, or Islamic law, in several northern states more

Than a year ago heightened discord between the two groups in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, with 120 million people. Since then, northern Nigerian communities have repeatedly exploded into violence, killing hundreds at a time. But never in Jos, until now. Monday, as deployment of the army and police helped restore order, the mosque where the conflict was said to have started lay in charred ruins of Christian churches, with pages of Sunday-school books strewn about. Nigerian police at first refused to give a death toll for fear of

Heightening tensions, then released a preliminary figure Monday - 51. Witness accounts and bodies still sprawled in the streets despite days of retrieval by soldiers indicated the true figure was likely far higher.

Meanwhile, a former military leader, Yakubu Gowon, was mediating talks Monday between Muslim and Christian groups. Religious leaders appealed on state radio for an end to the fighting. Intermittent gunfire still crackled and a few plumes of smoke rose into the air.

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