At least 13 people were killed in clashes between Muslim and Christian youth in Kaduna state in central Nigeria, police said on Wednesday.
Violence erupted Monday in Kasuwan Magani locality, about 45 km from the state capital, Kaduna.
“The chaos has resulted in the death of 13 people, with many houses and businesses burned down,” Kaduna State Police Minister Austin Iwar told AFP.
Local media reported heavier balance sheets.
According to Iwar, 20 suspects have since been arrested, while the police and army have been deployed to restore order. “Calm is back,” he added, adding that an investigation has been opened to determine the source of the disturbances.
“There is speculation that young Christians are not happy that girls (from their community) are bonding with Muslim boys,” he said, adding, “we do not want not make an early conclusion on what led to chaos.
The center of Nigeria, a meeting point between a predominantly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south, is regularly the scene of acute intercommunal tension.
The region is experiencing a resurgence of tensions between Christian farmers and nomadic Muslim pastoralists for months, in a conflict over access to land exacerbated by global warming and population explosion – Nigeria is the most populous country in the world. Africa with nearly 200 million inhabitants.