Nigeria’s government dispatched troops and security experts to the central state of Plateau amid religious clashes there.
The continuing violence that began Sunday in the provincial capital, Jos, has killed at least 149 people and prompted thousands to flee the city. The clashes have also spread beyond Jos to neighbouring towns, Nigerian media reported.
A 24-hour curfew was imposed on Jos in an attempt to stem the violence. Residents told BBC television that besides soldiers, rioters dressed in fake uniforms were also roaming the streets.
“This is one crisis too many, and the federal government finds it most unacceptable, retrogressive and capable of further sundering the bonds of unity in our country,” Vice President Goodluck Jonathan said in a statement published Wednesday in Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper.
“The country cannot afford these constant eruptions, and ... the government is determined to find a permanent solution to the Jos crisis,” said Mr. Jonathan, who for the past two weeks has been carrying out the duties of President Umaru Yar’Adua, who has been in a Saudi hospital since November with heart problems.
Christians and Muslims each make up half the population of Plateau. Although both groups traditionally live peacefully together, there have been conflicts in the past over political and economic influence. Similar unrest broke out at the end of 2008 when more than 200 people were killed.