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Nigerian Ethnic Violence Leaves 39 Dead in Northeastern Town

May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Violence between Muslims and Christians in the northeastern Nigerian town of Wukari in Taraba state left 39 people dead, according to the police.

More than 30 people were injured and more than 30 homes were burned yesterday in clashes between Hausa Muslims and Jukun Christians, Joseph Kwaji, a police spokesman, said today by phone from the Taraba state capital, Jalingo. The military and police were deployed to quell the unrest, he said.

“Right now in front of my house I can see three bodies of people shot probably by the soldiers,” Ali Shehu, a resident, said by phone yesterday.

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and most populous nation of more than 160 million people, is almost evenly split between a largely Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

A 24-hour curfew was imposed on the town following the violence, Kefas Sule, a spokesman for the Taraba state government, said by phone from Jaling

Nigeria has faced increased sectarian turmoil in the north. The government has been battling Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which wants Islamic rule over the West African nation and has been blamed by authorities for a surge in bomb and gun attacks across the north and Abuja, the capital, since 2009. The attacks have killed hundreds of people.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ardo Hazzad in Bauchi at ahazzad@bloomberg.net; Chris Kay in Abuja at ckay5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dick Schumacher at dschumacher@bloomberg.net

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