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  • on 30.07.2009
  • at 06:19 PM
  • by Staff

Nigeria: thousands flee violence in Northeast 0

Clashes continue in Nigeria, a region torn by conflicts between Muslims and Christians in the north. And while attacks by Sharia’s militants continue, Human Rights Watch claims that security forces made abuses against Muslims in last November.

After four days attacks by Islamic militants have killed more than 180 people.

Violence started on July 26 in the northern city of Bauchi on Sunday and spread to three other predominantly Muslim northern states, Yobe, Kano and Borno, where radical militants are trying to impose a Taliban-style regime.

Most people fled after security forces shelled the group’s headquarters and home of its leader Mohammed Yusuf, in response to the group’s attack on police headquarters on 27 July, Maiduguri police official Isa Azare told IRIN.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has also sent a relief team to nearby Bauchi state, director Mohammed Audu-bida said in a 28 July communiqué.

Most of Maiduguri’s streets were deserted on 29 July as remaining residents have locked themselves in their houses.

“All the markets and shops remain closed due to the fighting,” resident Suauwalu Hamisu told IRIN. “Neighbourhood shops are running out of supplies.”

Nigerian Red Cross workers are distributing plastic sheeting and food to some of the displaced, using local Red Cross stocks. The relief workers are assessing conditions in the three affected states, according to disaster manager Attah Benson.

Nigeria has been affected by clashes since 12 of the country’s 36 states adopted Islamic law, or Shariah, in the north in 1999.

A senior member of the rebel group Boko Haram, which opposes Western education and demands the adoption of Shariah law in all of Nigeria, threatened further attacks.

“We do not believe in Western education. It corrupts our ideas and beliefs. That is why we are standing up to defend our religion,” Abdulmuni Ibrahim Mohammed told Reuters after his arrest in Kano state.

Analysts say trouble has brewed for months, as police began raiding militant hideouts and finding explosives and arms, as Reuters says.

In last November, more than 700 people were killed in clashes in Jos, capital of Nigeria’s Plateau state, but Human Rights Watch (HRW) told a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the matter through a recent report, IRIN says.

Download the full Human Rights Watch report on Nigeria (pdf version)

By Staff – Afronline

(picture credits: ANSA)

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