Violence mars Muslim holiday in Nigeria's mid-west

  Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Sallah celebrations were marred in Nigeria Wednesday when some residents of mid-western Benin city clashed following a disagreement over road maintenance, leaving 15 persons injured, the local press reported Thursday.
   Machetes, axes, daggers, broken bottles and other weapons were used during the violence, that involved northern Hausa residents of the ancient city and the indigenous Binis on Iguisi street.
   A community leader, Edison Okubor, said both groups had lived together peacefully for 50 years until Wednesday's clash.
   The reports said the Binis accused Hausa traders in the area of defacing the main access road to the street with heavy-duty lorries used in transporting goods.
   Though both groups had agreed on ways of maintaining the road, trouble started when Bini residents reportedly refused to allow an Hausa trader to unload his goods from a lorry, on the grounds that he did not pay an agreed toll.
   Divisional police officer in charge of the area, Yomi Oladimeji, led more than 100 armed policemen to quell the fighting.
   Oladimeji later took away some representatives of both groups for a peace meeting.
   Thousands of Nigerians have been killed in the series of ethnic, religious and political crises, that have hit the country in the past three years.
   Last month, more than 200 people were killed and thousands either injured or displaced in religious riots in the northern city of Kaduna over Nigeria's botched hosting of Miss World Beauty Pageant.

05 december 2002 12:32:00

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