Violence erupts in Nigeria

Angry Muslim youths set a church
filled with worshippers ablaze in northern Nigeria, starting a riot that killed
at least 27 people and wounded 300 others in the latest religious violence in
the region.

About 5,000 people lost their homes
as rioters also burned mosques and homes in Jos, a city that saw more than 300
residents killed during a similar uprising in 2008, said local Red Cross
official Auwal Muhammad Madobi. He said he had no information about deaths and
police officials declined to offer a count of the dead.

An Associated Press reporter saw
the bodies of 10 dead youths, marked with bullet holes and machete wounds, at a
local hospital on Monday. Witnesses told reporters they saw 10 bodies at a mosque
in the city. It was unclear if the bodies in the hospital were the same ones
seen in the mosque.

The rioting began Sunday, when the
youths attacked a church, said Gregory Yenlong, a state government spokesman.
Yenlong said he didn’t know why the young men set the blaze.

“That’s what’s being investigated,”
he said.

Police arrested 35 people who they
suspect took part in the rioting, Yenlong said. He said at least five of the
men arrested were wearing fake Nigerian military uniforms.

Traffic in the northern Nigerian
city remained light as the few cars travelling met multiple roadblocks and
close searches by police and soldiers. Local police spokesman Mohammed Lerama
said the site of the rioting remained sealed off, but that calm had returned to

“There’s an absolute
peace,” Lerama said.