Africa

Nigeria curfew after deadly village clashes

  • 26 October 2010
  • From the section Africa
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A curfew has been imposed on two rural villages in Nigeria's Cross River state after deadly weekend clashes.

At least 30 people are reported to have been killed in violence between members of the Boje and Nsadop communities.

Youths armed with machetes, guns and explosives attacked rival villages, killing on sight and burning houses.

The clashes are believed to have been sparked by a lingering land dispute, but some residents told the BBC the violence may be politically motivated.

They said some local politicians were engaged in a power struggle ahead of next year's elections.

Villagers fled

The BBC's Fidelis Mbah in the region says three soldiers deployed to maintain peace in the area were among those killed.

Residents of both villages have fled, fearing for their lives, he reports.

More soldiers and anti-riot policemen have arrived to step up patrols.

Cross River state government spokesman Patrick Ugbe said some badly burnt corpses had been recovered in the aftermath of the fighting.

"About 90% of the houses in Nsadop were burnt down," he told the AFP news agency.

According to the authorities, a curfew has been imposed from 1800 local time to 0600 in the morning.

The villages are in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, which is notorious for its armed gangs.

Most of these so-called oil militants have now agreed to disarm as part of a government amnesty.

Niger Delta politicians originally created the gangs by arming young men to use as their private armies and to rig elections.

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