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Curfew Imposed After Riots Kill Five

May 31, 1995

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) _ A fight over a parking space touched off ethnic riots that killed at least five people, and the government responded today by clamping a curfew on the turbulent northern city of Kano.

Violence erupted Tuesday when a taxi driver and a merchant argued about parking in the crowded marketplace. The driver was from the Muslim-dominated Hausa ethnic group and the trader was from the Christian Ibo tribe.

As they scuffled, both men called on fellow tribesmen to join in. When word of the clash spread through the market, it sparked more fights that spilled onto city streets. People battled with sticks, machetes and stones and rampaged through neighborhoods, burning shops and cars and attacking houses.

One woman was stabbed to death in her home. Details of the other deaths were not clear. Police spokesman Abdullahi Hashimu said five people died, but witnesses reported eight deaths.

Few people ventured onto the streets today, fearful of a renewal of the ethnic fighting that has plagued Kano for years.

The city of 500,000 is mainly Muslim, but the marketplace where Tuesday’s riots began is filled with migrant Ibo merchants. In December, an Ibo man was beheaded by Muslim extremists. About 100 people died in Muslim-Christian riots four years ago.

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