Buildings Burn after Clashes Injure a Dozen in Nigeria

Filling stations, churches and mosques were set ablaze in central Nigeria's city of Jos on Saturday after students were wounded when soldiers opened fire to quell a protest overnight, security officials and students said.

Clashes had broken out Friday after three university students were stabbed by motor-cycle riding Muslim villagers outside their hostel.

Brigadier General Hassan Umaru, commander of a special force deployed in the sectarian violence flashpoint of Jos, said four students were shot and wounded when soldiers tried to put down riots by the students protesting the stabbings.

He said the students had mobilized in such large numbers that they nearly overwhelmed the soldiers.

"The situation became worse. The students tried to overrun our men and that was when shots were fired in self defense and hit four of them," Umaru told Agence France Presse by phone.

Student leader Victor Dazi said, "the soldiers came to stop the protest and started shooting into the air and 13 students were shot by stray bullets but not killed."

On Saturday, "People took advantage of the situation ... to burn houses and vehicles. They just burn houses of the opposite faith -- churches and mosques included," Umaru said.

Two fuel stations, a vegetable market, churches, mosques and houses were set alight, Umaru and witnesses said.

Jos and its surroundings have been hit by waves of violence in recent years that have left scores of people dead.

Human Rights Watch this week said more than 200 people had been killed in Plateau state since Christmas Eve, when dozens died in a string of bombings and resulting clashes in Jos, the state capital.