At least ten people have been injured in religious fighting in Liberia, the third outbreak of fighting between Christian and Muslim communities in West Africa this year.
Witnesses said on Friday the clashes took place in the northern town of Voinjama, close to the Guinean border.
“Ten people have been seriously wounded and are undergoing medical treatment,” resident Anthony Kollie told Reuters by telephone. “(Rioters) have burnt down the Catholic, Baptist and Episcopal churches in the area,” he said.
The violence appeared to have been sparked by the discovery of a child’s body near a mosque. Christian residents responded by attacking the mosque.
The United Nations mission in the country said it had sent a police unit to the area. “We have sent an additional team … to calm the situation down,” spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane said.
Earlier in February at least three people were killed in clashes between Christians and Muslims in southeastern Guinea, a month after more than 400 people died in religious violence in the Nigerian town of Jos.
Human rights observers say violence that is triggered by religious incidents in the first instance often becomes politicised, and can involve disputes over land or property.