YOLA, Nigeria —A Christian vigilante group killed a Muslim resident who insisted on going through their illegal checkpoint, triggering riots that have left at least four people dead in central Nigeria, a local official said Sunday, and showing how communities have lost faith in government’s ability to protect them.
Rioters have burned down houses and shops in the remote area of Ibi, about 140 miles from the Taraba state capital of Jalingo, said Ibi local government chairman Isiaku Adamu.
Abubakar Abubakar Bello, an Ibi resident, said churches and mosques also were torched as he stood outside his home to protect it. He said residents were fleeing his town.
A Taraba State government spokesman Emmanuel Bello said Sunday that authorities have sent troops to the area to quell the violence.
Christians had put up several checkpoints early Sunday to stop Muslims from nearing their church during their services as a response to church attacks in other parts of the country, Adamu said.
The ensuing riots come three weeks after a suicide bomber rammed an SUV loaded with explosives into a Catholic church holding Mass on Sunday in the north central city of Kaduna, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 100 others.
The car bombing was the latest high-casualty attack targeting churches in a West African nation of more than 160 million people evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.