Eye-witnesses say hundreds of people have been killed in the city of Jos, in Nigeria, after clashes between Christians and Muslims over the result of a local election.
The authorities have imposed a 24 hour curfew on four neighbourhoods and have ordered police to shoot on sight to enforce it.
Local residents said several churches and mosques were destroyed in the violence, which began on Friday, and thousands have been forced to flee their homes.
The city lies at the crossroads between the country’s mostly Muslim north and mostly Christian south.
The clashes began with a rumour that the predominantly Muslim All Nigerian Peoples Party had lost the local election to the mainly Christian ruling People’s Democratic Party.
The region is no stranger to religious and ethnic unrest. In September 2001, a week of violence between Christians and Muslims in Jos also saw hundreds killed. Three years later, a state of emergency was called and a curfew imposed, after hundreds more died in clashes in the neighbouring town of Yelwa.
The tension springs from decades of resentment felt by indigenous minority groups in the area towards migrants from the Muslim north.