Death toll rises in riot-torn Nigerian city of Kaduna

 

The Red Cross warned this afternoon that sectarian violence was expected to continue in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna after five days of bloody clashes sparked by a controversial newspaper article on the Miss World pageant.

"There has not been calm overnight. There have been more killings," Nigerian Red Cross president Mr Emmanuel Ijewere said. "More people are coming in for treatment. This has continued and we're expecting more trouble today."

Policemen fire teargas and gunshots to disperse a crowd in Kaduna, Nigeria.

Mr Ijewere said the Red Cross death estimate was collated at 6 p.m. (Irish time) yesterday. It tallies with a total given by the Kaduna-based rights group, the Civil Rights Congress.

Authorities in the flashpoint city had imposed a tough overnight curfew after three days of clashes initially triggered by an article on the Miss World beauty pageant which offended local Muslims.

In some areas the crackdown appeared to have had the desired effect. "We haven't heard a single shot since 9am on Saturday morning. The curfew was respected on Saturday night, unlike that of the night before," said Mr Regis Bouffartigue, the French manager of a brewery in the south of the city.

On Saturday hundreds of local residents took shelter in the brewery to avoid marauding gangs in the run-down, religiously mixed suburbs nearby. Mr Bouffartigue said they left for home this morning.