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Violence between Muslims and Christians engulfed Liberia's war-battered capital Friday, with machete-wielding crowds rampaging through the streets and U.N. peacekeepers firing warning shots and tear gas to restore order amid burned mosques and churches.

At least three people were killed, accidentally crushed under the wheels of a U.N. armored vehicle trying to disperse a crowd, a policeman said. The number of dead and wounded elsewhere was unclear, with some residents reporting up to five dead.

Jacques Klein, the U.N. special envoy to Liberia, said U.N. troops and Liberian police detained 168 people, and peacekeepers were ordered to patrol through the night.

Troubles began overnight in the Paynesville district of eastern Monrovia, where at least three churches and two mosques were set ablaze along with several houses, witnesses said.

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