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Nigeria Christian / Muslim Conflict 2009

The violence began Sunday, 26 July 2009, when dozens of militants attacked a police station in Bauchi following the arrest of some of their leaders. The police and army responded swiftly and raided neighborhoods to arrest those responsible. Nigerian newspapers report that at least 200 people were killed and many others seriously injured in Sunday's clashes. The violence continued on Monday, 27 July 2009, when police say Islamic fundamentalists attacked security forces in northeastern Nigeria.

The Bauchi state government imposed a night time curfew. A police spokesman in Bauchi, Mohammed Barau, told Voice of America (VOA) the curfew was a precautionary measure and that the situation in Bauchi was under control. "It is just a measure to sustain the peace that has returned," he said. "That is why if you look at it, it is from nine o'clock in the night to six o'clock in the morning. And in fact there is nothing as far as that curfew is concerned. It is just to strengthen the security measures. Everything is under control."

On Tuesday, 28 July 2009, government forces in the city shelled the home of Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the group thought to be behind the series of deadly attacks across the region. Fighting continued in northern Nigeria Wednesday as government forces battled members of the radical Islamic sect.

The clashes spread across the states of Yobe, Kano and Borno, with the city of Maiduguri bearing the brunt of the fighting. Authorities say the militants also have burned several churches across the region.

Security forces have been deployed across northern Nigeria to stem the spread of clashes between the police and Islamic militants. At least one person was killed when radical Muslim groups attacked a police station and a security patrol in the northeastern states of Yobe and Borno.

As of Thursday, 30 July 2009, Nigerian authorities say they have the Islamist militant group on the run in northern Nigeria where clashes with the sect have left about 300 people dead since Sunday. Officials in the Boro state capital of Maiduguri say they have been conducting a door-to-door search for the leader of the Boko Haram group, Mohammad Yusuf, and other members. Reports from Maiduguri say machine-gun fire can still be heard as the army pounds the group's suspected hideouts. Army leaders say it is only a matter of time before the sect is destroyed.

On 28 July some 3,000 people fled Bayan Quarters, a Maiduguri neighbourhood where the latest round of fighting took place, and though many have returned home, others are now sheltering in the Maimalari and Giwa army barracks on the outskirts of the city. Government emergency management teams in Nigeria are distributing blankets and water to the thousands of people displaced from the northeastern city of Maiduguri. Nigerian Red Cross workers are also distributing plastic sheeting and food to some of the displaced, using local Red Cross stocks. 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 communiqu.

At least 100 members of the radical movement, including its deputy leader, have been killed and scores more have fled Maiduguri, where fighting has been concentrated. However, a Maiduguri policeman who requested anonymity told Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) he counted 197 dead “militants” and nine dead police officials – five of them trainees from a police college.

The Boko Haram ('Education is a Sin' in the Hausa language) sect - the so-called "Nigerian Taliban" - is believed to be responsible for attacks on police and government officials across the region. The Boko Haram group condemns democracy and western culture and claims it supports the imposition of strict Islamic Sharia law across all of northern Nigeria.

For five days, the militants, who want northern Nigeria to adopt a strict interpretation of Islamic law, attacked police stations, churches, and government buildings. A dozen of Nigeria's 36 states have introduced strict Islamic Sharia law in the past decade. The country is roughly evenly divided between Christians and Muslims, with Islam predominant in the northern part of the country. Periodic clashes between the two populations have left thousands of people dead in recent years.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:28:52 ZULU