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Ethnic clashes in Lagos claim at least 20 lives

Country Map - Nigeria (Lagos)
NIgeria and its eastern neighbour Cameroon (IRIN)

At least 20 people have died in clashes since Saturday in Lagos, Nigeria, between local Yorubas and Hausa-speaking northerners, residents and other sources said.

The clashes were sparked by a dispute between a Yoruba and a Hausa, in which one of the parties was killed, residents of Mushin, the affected area, said. Fighting between gangs armed with bottles, swords and clubs continued throughout Saturday night, died down on Sunday, but resumed on Monday morning.

"Teams of heavily armed policemen and soldiers patrolled the area on Sunday, but no sooner had they withdrawn than the fighting resumed," an area resident told IRIN.

Many of the dead and wounded were taken to the nearby Lagos University Teaching Hospital. "I have counted a total of 20 bodies that have been brought into this hospital and more than 40 people with injuries," Toyin Banjo, a hospital worker, told IRIN.

The clashes have come barely a week after explosions at a munitions depot shook the city of 12 million, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and over 15,000 homeless.

Southwest Nigeria, which includes Lagos, is the home region of the Yoruba, one of the country's three main ethnic groups - the others are the Hausa-Fulani and Igbo. In the past three years, the region has experienced repeated clashes between locals and Hausa-speakers in which hundreds of people have died. These clashes, which have followed the return to civil rule in 1999, form part of what is seen by many as the worst cycle of communal violence Nigeria has experienced since civil war in 1967-1970.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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