Article published on the 2009-07-27 Latest update 2009-07-28 11:04 TU
The bodies of Nigerians are brought to a police station in the northeastern city of Bauchi after clashes between security forces and armed groups on 26 July, 2009
(Photo : Reuters/Ardo Hazzad)
Nigeria's security forces fought gun battles on Monday night with Islamist fighters in Borno state, as sectarian violence continued to ravage the north of the country. The worst clashes took place in the city of Maiduguri, where at least 100 people are reported to have been killed.
Correspondent Aminu Abubakar told RFI that the city is a stronghold of the Islamist group who sparked the violence. He said fighting continued until late on Monday before police gained some control.
"Police and military teams are going around, combing the city, firing shots in the air to clear away any possible attackers, while dead bodies are being piled at the police headquarters," Abubakar said.
"According to local journalists, over 100 bodies have been brought to the headquarters and more were to be brought. The government has imposed a dusk til dawn curfew."
Eariler on Monday, Islamist fighters attacked police stations in Maiduguri and in Potiskum in Yobe state. Five policemen were killed in Potiskum. The attacks came a day after dozens were killed in Bauchi state Sunday. Official sources in Bauchi said at least 65 people were killed.
Boko Haram, a Muslim group, which has demanded the adoption of Sharia law, attacked the city of Bauchi on Sunday after a number of their leaders were arrested, leading the state governor to impose a curfew on the city.
More than 100 Boko Haram members were arrested after the Bauchi attacks on Sunday. "We have identified some of the areas that they [members] have accumulated arms and ammunition and we have captured all those we have been able to identify," Minister of Police Affairs, Ibrahim Yakubu Lame told RFI.
Lame said that Nigeria would soon return to normalcy, indicating that in Bauchi state, police had received information on a border attack and were acting on it.
But who exactly are Boko Haram? RFI spoke to Abdulaye Bawa, a political analyst at the National Institute for Policy and Strategy. "Their philosophy is Western education ... Western-oriented work is completely prohibited. That is what they mean by Boko Haram," he said.
A total of 12 out of 36 states in Nigeria began imposing a stricter form of Sharia law in 2000, a decision that has polarised the Christian community of Africa's most populated country.
Since then, sectarian violence has been on the rise, including clashes in Bauchi last February that killed at least 11 and wounded dozens. Hundreds more were killed last November in Jos in the aftermath of disputed election results.
Islamic rebels are not connected with Mend, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.
2009-07-27 09:57 TU
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