Nigeria: Death Toll Rises To 30 In Nigerian Communal Violence

By Paul Ejime, PANA Staff Correspondent, 25 September 1997

LAGOS, NIGERIA (PANA) — Communal clashes between the Ife and Modakeke of western Nigeria continued Wednesday pushing the death toll to 30 dead amid unmitigated arson and the flight of the non-indigenous population from the troubled area, reports reaching Lagos said Thursday.

Both neigboring communities, belonging to Nigeria’s Yoruba ethnic group, are feuding over the Osun State government’s relocation of a local council headquarters from a Modakeke area to another dominated by the Ife.

But the council relocation is only part of the age-long rivalry over ancestry between the communities. Violent clashes in August left some 50 dead in the area before Monday’s hostilities.

Nigerian newspapers published photos Thursday of the violence, showing fleeing residents and of the dead.

The state military administrator, Col. Anthony Obi, called an emergency meeting Thursday of leaders of the warring communities.

Anti-riot police have been deployed to maintain peace in the troubled area, where economic and social life has been paralysed, and most markets deserted.

In similar violence March in Warri, Nigeria’s Delta area in the south-east, some 80 people were killed before joint police and military units brought the situation under control.

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