KANO, Nigeria – Clashes erupted Friday in a Nigerian city after a local election dispute, leaving at least three people dead and prompting the military to send troops into city streets to restore order, a lawmaker and witnesses said.
The riots in the central Nigerian city of Jos followed false rumors of one party's victory, said Emmanuel Danboyi of the Plateau State legislature. Troops moved in later to calm the city.
Rioters doused at least one church with gasoline and set it on fire, said an eyewitness, Monday Desmond. He reported seeing three dead corpses, including the body of a clergyman.
Political strife over local issues is common in this restive West African nation, where government offices control massive budgets stemming from the country's oil industry.
Violence has flared in the past in Jos, where Muslim herdsmen mix daily with Christian farmers, causing friction over land rights and religious creeds. Those divides mirror troubles in Nigeria's larger society, and crises in what's known as Nigeria's middle belt can spread to cities across both the Muslim north and Christian south.
Normally, people from across Nigeria mix freely and peacefully in large cities across the country of 140 million people.
In other violence Friday, a military spokesman said gunmen abducted a Scottish oil industry worker in southern Nigeria.
Lt. Col. Sagir Musa of the military task force charged with calming the restive oil region said the assailants seized the man on Friday in the city of Port Harcourt. Musa says there had been no claim of responsibility.
More than 200 foreign workers have been kidnapped in nearly three years of rising violence across the oil-rich southern part of Nigeria. The hostages are normally released unharmed after a ransom is paid.