25 Dec 2010

Explosions kill several in Nigeria

2:00 pm on 25 December 2010

Police in Nigeria say several people have been killed in explosions in or near the northern city of Jos, where hundreds died earlier this year in sectarian and ethnic clashes.

The cause of the explosions, which also injured a number of people, was not immediately known. Some reports say there were several blasts.

A local military official told the BBC that security forces were now patrolling the area.

Jos lies on the faultline between Nigeria's mainly Muslim north and its largely Christian and animist south.

Although the clashes take place between rivals gangs of Muslims and Christians, observers say the underlying causes are economic and political.

Muslims are generally from the Hausa- or Fulani-speaking communities and are often nomadic people who live from rearing animals or petty trade.

The mainly Christian Berom, Anaguta and Afisare groups have traditionally been farmers.

Some Christian farmers feel they are under threat, as Hausa-speaking Muslims come down from the north looking for pasture for their animals.