Thousands of Christians in northern Nigeria were displaced from their homes and took shelter in police and army barracks following violence this month between Christians and Muslims in Kano City.

Officials of the Nigerian Red Cross said that the agency had provided food and medical assistance to hundreds of Christians who took refuge in the barracks following riots that broke out after demonstrations protesting against the United States-led action in Afghanistan.

A police spokesperson in Kano, Kabiru Shehu, said 32 people had been killed in the violence that lasted from October 12 to 15. The police also said that 51 people were injured and five churches were burnt down.

However, a Nigerian Red Cross official in Kano put the death toll at more than 100 and Christian leaders in the region said the figure was twice this.

Zakka Nyam, Anglican bishop of Kano, said that he had received information from Christians working in two of Kano's hospitals that "over 200 dead bodies were deposited in these two hospitals." He said that this figure had been "authenticated by some top police officers who confided in us."

Gabriel Ojo, minister of the Kano Baptist Church and chairman of the Kano state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), also put the number of dead at over 200. He said police were "trying to hide the casualty figures in order not to expose the fallacy of the government and their inadequacies in the conflict."

The riots broke out after protests on October 12, during which demonstrators burned five U.S. flags and an effigy of US President George W. Bush. Demonstrators denounced the U.S. and expressed support for Osama bin Laden and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The demonstrations were aimed at drumming up support ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.