Nigerian Muslims and Christians Clash, Leaving Dozens More Dead

Another 25 people were buried over the weekend in the aftermath of deadly clashes between Christians and Muslims last week in Nigeria.

An estimated 45 Christians have already been killed since last week, when Fulani Muslim herdsmen along with Muslim soldiers attacked a Barkin Ladi church on Nov. 23 and killed four Christians, returning the next day to slay 35 more in a nearby village named Kwok, Compass Direct News reported. Before the major deadly attack, several smaller attacks reportedly took place, starting on Nov. 20.

Local media have reported a sharp rise of deaths resulting from violent clashes between Nigeria's Berom Christians and the Fulani Muslim population living in the country's central, turmoil-torn area of Plateau State.

Thousands of Christians are reportedly fleeing the area, which is known for instability with violence dating years back.

Plateau state lies in the so-called middle belt region between the mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south of Africa's most populous nation, according to Agence France-Press.

"Beroms and other mainly Christian ethnic groups are viewed as indigenous in the area, while Hausa-Fulani Muslims are seen as the more recent 'settlers' despite the fact that many have been there for decades," the agency reports.

According to local authorities, thousands have been killed in recent years in the clashes between the two groups. The violent acts included bomb blasts on Christmas Eve of 2010 and the violence in the days that followed.

On Nov. 4, some 150 people had reportedly been killed -- at least 130 of them Christians -- by over 200 members of the Islamic extremist Boko Haram sect stormed the Yobe state capital, Damaturu, according to Compass Direct News.

The accompanying destruction included the bombing of at least 10 church buildings.

The Christian leaders in Damaturu told Compass that out of the 150 casualties reported in the Yobe attacks, more than 130 were Christians. The assault reportedly occurred when a group of Muslim extremists on their way to the town of New Jerusalem were asking Christians they met on the way if they could recite the Islamic creed, and if they could not, they were killed.

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