JOS — Authorities in central Nigeria said Monday a curfew had been further relaxed and normal life had returned to the city of Jos where Muslim-Christian clashes have left an estimated 500 people dead.
"Following the return of normalcy to the city of Jos and its environs, the curfew has been further relaxed to be from 6 p.m [1700 GMT] to 6 a.m [0500 GMT]," military spokesman Colonel Galadima Shekari told AFP.
He advised residents of Jos and its environs to adhere strictly to the curfew hours.
Originally a 24-hour curfew had been imposed at the height of bloody violence on Tuesday, which was relaxed the following day to 5 p.m (1600 GMT) to 10 a.m (0900 GMT) lockdown.
The decision to relax the curfew further by five hours was taken late Sunday at a meeting of the Plateau State government security council following a gradual return of normalcy to Jos and its environs, Radio Nigeria reported.
The radio also confirmed that frightened residents continued to flee the troubled city despite the gradual return of normalcy.
Fighting first erupted on January 17 when Christian youths protested the building of a mosque in a Christian-majority area of Jos, capital of Plateau State, and later spread to nearby towns and villages.
Houses, churches, mosques and vehicles were set ablaze in the four days of fighting.
Figures provided by medical and aid officials, religious and community leaders as well as global rights watchdog Human Rights Watch [HRW} put the death toll in the clashes at 492.
HRW, quoting figures it got from Muslim officials, said that 364 of those killed were Muslims.
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