BAUCHI, Nigeria — A fight over a game of billiards disintegrated into religious violence in northern Nigeria, leaving at least four people dead among the smoldering ruins of churches and mosques, authorities said Thursday.
The attack in the town of Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi state came the same day police said members of a radical Muslim sect killed a police officer guarding a voter registration site in northeast Nigeria. The attack showed the continuing ability of members of the Boko Haram sect to kill at will despite a military and police crackdown, leaving a state police commissioner to admit he cannot guarantee the safety of election officials.
The violence also comes ahead of April elections that many worry could ignite simmering ethnic and religious tensions in a country that became a democracy only a decade ago. Those tensions have seen more than 200 people die in the last month's time around the central Nigerian city of Jos, a flash point of violence between Nigeria's two dominant faiths, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.