Part of the violence is being blamed on the radical Muslim sect Boko Haram, but it was just ordinary Muslim villagers who attacked their Christian neighbours (30 miles from Kano) in response to a trader who allegedly insulted their Prophet Mohammed. According to the police there were no deaths, although one witness, Sadiq Ahmed, claims there were four dead bodies in front of shops owned by Christians, torched shops and a church.
Officials believe Boko Haram is responsible for three separate attacks that have occurred this week in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria. There has been no official count, and the 18 dead were reported by witnesses, which means there could be many more. The police might be reluctant to report more deaths in case it prompts retaliatory action by Christians.
Earlier this week, a Christian vigilante group in central Nigeria killed a Muslim resident after he defied an illegal checkpoint the group had put up to protect their church from a Boko Haram attack, even though the sect had not previously struck in that area. The killing sparked riots that left 10 people dead.
Though the Muslims and Christians lived in peace for many years in that country, the increasing trend towards radical Islam has changed that dynamic, and there's nothing the government can do to stop the escalating violence.
President Goodluck Jonathan, whose government has responded to the crisis by sending more troops to the most affected areas, recently said on state-run television that Boko Haram remained a "faceless" group and that there was nobody for the government to meet with to seek peace.
Not that Boko Haram or any of the other radical Islamists in African countries (or elsewhere) are interested in peace.