JOS, Nigeria — Five people died Saturday in a new outbreak of sectarian bloodshed in the Nigerian city of Jos, as angry youths sought revenge for the death of a Muslim teenager, police and residents said.
Hundreds of Muslim youths went on the rampage in Jos, the violent capital of central Plateau State, after a 17-year-old student was found dead Saturday morning on a building site.
Police confirmed they had reports that a Christian was killed in the protests, while the army spokesman in Jos said three other Christians were stabbed to death.
Soldiers shot into the air to disperse the protestors, after Muslim and Christian youth sides regrouped to attack each other, according to the spokesman, Brigadier General Donald Orji.
In total, soldiers Saturday recorded five corpses from the Dutse Uku and Miango districts of Jos, Orji said.
Plateau State police spokesman Mohammed Lerama told AFP the protests flared in the Dutse Uku district of the city, involving "some Muslim youths calling for revenge over the killing of a Muslim teenager."
"From reports reaching us, one Christian was killed in the protest. Both bodies have been taken to the hospital," he said.
The army spokesman said the other three Christians died after being attacked, allegedly by Muslim protesters.
"Passers-by were stabbed in the process and were evacuated to the hospital where three of them later died," he told an AFP reporter.
According to Lerama, "security personnel were deployed to the areas and have succeeded in restoring normalcy.
"We now have the traditional chief and the youth leader of the area are with us and they are helping us with our investigation."
A resident of the Dutse Uku district, Victor Kaltung, said residents closed shops and businesses and took shelter indoors as the mob demanded revenge.
"It took the intervention of soldiers from the Special Task Force and some Muslim community leaders to dissuade the youths from continuing with the protest," he said.
"While the soldiers barricaded the roads, the Muslim leaders approached them and after an hour of pleading and preaching, they abandoned the protest and dispersed," he stated.
Two days ago, police exhumed eight bodies from shallow graves after sniffer dogs searched a Christian village in the region, a senior officer said.
The latest exhumations brought to 15 the number of bodies found in three days in shallow graves in an area plagued by clashes between Muslims and Christians that have left hundreds dead this year, according to an AFP toll.
Plateau State -- whose capital Jos is the flashpoint of sectarian clashes -- sits on the limit between Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south.
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