Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The government of Nigeria's central Kaduna State has named a seven-member panel to probe last weekend's deadly violence in Gwantu, Sanga local government area of the State, the local media reported Tuesday.
Governor Ahmed Makarfi also suspended the Chairman of the Sanga Local Government, Frank Bala Baba, and the traditional ruler of the area, Ibrahim Yakubu, both believed to be at the centre of the disturbances.
The two men were reportedly still being held by the police, who arrested them after the clashes.
The panel, headed by Justice Mohammed Tukur Aliyu, is mandated to, among others, assess and determine the damage caused by the disturbances and identify perpetrators of the violence.
"In the light of the finding of the Commission, it would recommend appropriate actions to be taken against those responsible or public officers that might have failed to discharge their responsibility," the Governor said.
The Commission was given three weeks to submit its report.
Police said at least 11 persons were killed when supporters of Baba and Yakubu clashed over alleged plans to move the headquarters of the local government from Gwantu, the epicentre of the clashes.
The State government said the violence had no religious undertone.
But the local government chairman is a Christian, while the traditional ruler is a Moslem, seemingly corroborating the sectarian nature of the fighting, during which supporters of the two personalities used home-made guns, machetes as well as bows and arrows.
The fact that the violence also erupted on the day the controversial Islamic legal code, Sharia, was introduced in the State seemed to lend credence to its religious coloration.
Christians in the State, which is almost equally divided between adherents of both religions, oppose the strict Islamic laws prescribed under the Sharia.
An estimated 2,000 people died last year in two clashes caused by government's plan to introduce Sharia, now being practised in at least 10 of Nigeria's predominantly-Moslem northern States.
Makarfi introduced a compromise form of the laws last Friday apparently to address the fears of the Christians, who continue to oppose the Sharia, and the Moslems who said it was at the core of their Islamic faith.
Last weekend's crisis in Kaduna was the latest in a string of sectarian and ethnic violence that has rocked Africa's most-populous nation of 120 million people in the past 29 months of its return to civilian rule after prolonged military dictatorships.
In the past two months alone, hundreds have died in such crises in the central Plateau and Benue States, as well in the northern city of Kano.
The Benue crisis triggered a massacre of civilians by troops drafted to help fish out the abductors and killers of 19 soldiers by militants in the age-long Tiv-Jukun/Fulani ethnic violence.
The widely-criticised Benue killings have forced President Olusegun Obasanjo to summon a meeting of political, traditional and opinion leaders of the country's Middle Belt zone for 11 November as part of efforts to stop the conflicts.
The meeting, proposed after the President met with the Governors of Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa and Plateau in the State House Monday, is expected to be held in Abuja.
Presidential Spokesman Tunji Oseni said the meeting on peace and conflict resolution in the Middle Belt, would be a precursor to a bigger one scheduled to hold at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos.
Analysts say unless the spiralling violence is arrested quickly, it may truncate the government's efforts to attract foreign investment, which is at the core of its efforts to revive the country's ailing economy.