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Soldiers were called upon to quell skirmishes September 27 in this central Nigerian city where ethno-religious conflict has already claimed hundreds of lives earlier this month.

Burnt-down houses and churches, and torched cars still line the streets here after this month's clashes between Muslims and Christians, but final fatality figures have not yet been confirmed.

"Reports reaching me have indicated that about 300 lives have been lost," Joshua Dariye, governor of the state of Plateau said. "We are hoping that at the close of investigations into the crisis we shall be able to say precisely what is the actual casualty figure in this sad incident."

Property and even human beings were randomly set on fire, and shops looted during the violence, which lasted from September 7 to 17. The number of dead brought in to three major city hospitals suggested that government casualty figures would have to be adjusted upwards, perhaps by hundreds.

Mortuary attendants at Jos University Teaching Hospital and at Plateau State Specialist Hospital said that because of the number of bodies involved, mass burial had to be arranged.

Officials had called up soldiers and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew to restore a semblance of order to the once-serene city.

A number of churches and mosques were destroyed in the riots. Three church buildings of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) were set afire. The Assemblies of God lost its main cathedral, and the Jos Apostolic Church was razed.

Dr Ademola Ishola, general secretary of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, said her denomination had lost three church building in the riots. "We lost a church, a monastery and a conference secretary's house to the carnage," he said. "Some of our people [church members] were ...

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