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Nigeria police to charge 49 with murder over recent ethnic violence

[JURIST] Nigerian police officials said Wednesday that 49 people, predominately Muslims, will be charged with murder following the recent killing of Christian villagers near the city of Jos. Reports have varied [BBC report] as to the number of people killed in the weekend attack, but police now put the number at 109. The attacks were apparently in retaliation [AP report] for the January violence between Muslims and Christians which left more than 300, mostly Muslims, dead. The city of Jos is located in an area of central Nigeria, which divides the predominately Muslim northern part of the country from the primarily Christian south. Authorities have indicated that the area is being patrolled by security forces to prevent further violence. Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called on the Nigerian government to prosecute those responsible [JURIST report] for the violence.

Last month, HRW urged [JURIST report] acting President Goodluck Jonathan [BBC profile] to to "tackle the culture of impunity" in Nigeria. While HRW has called on Jonathan directly, other rights groups have petitioned international authorities to take action to prevent recurring rights abuses. Earlier in February, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) [advocacy website] called for [JURIST report] an International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] investigation into the violence that took place in Jos in January. The ICC is considering [JURIST report] the petition.

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