Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the military to “take all necessary actions” to stop ethnic and religious unrest in Plateau state.

His order to the chief of defence comes a day after two bomb explosions hit the state capital Jos.

More than 100 people have been killed in the past two weeks in the state in conflict between Muslims and Christians from rival ethnic groups.

The conflict has continued despite a strong security force presence.

Rival groups have clashed in Plateau state on numerous occasions over the past decade. More than 1,000 people have died in the past two years.


The president’s office said in a statement that Mr Jonathan had directed Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin “to take full charge of the security situation in Plateau State immediately and take all necessary actions to stop the recent spate of killings in the state”.

This effectively means that the national government has taken security out of the hands of the state government, says the BBC’s Bashir Sa’ad Abdullahi in Abuja.

Nigeria is a federal state, where many powers are normally handled at state level.

Two blasts went off at a packed outdoor eatery in the centre of Jos on Sunday night, security officials said. A witness said at least one person was injured, the AFP news agency reports.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in religious and ethnic violence in Jos over the past two years.

The state lies in Nigeria’s so-called Middle Belt, between the mainly Muslim north and Christian south.

The violence is widely seen as religious, but there are many other factors that trigger it, including political rivalry, observers say.

Hausa-speaking Muslims are seen as supporters of the opposition in Plateau state, while ethnic Beroms, who are mostly Christian, are perceived to favour the People’s Democratic Party, which is in power at both state and federal level.