- Title: NIGERIA: Clashes kill 103 in north Nigerian city, police say
- Date: 29th July 2009
- Summary: VARIOUS NEWSPAPER HEADLINES READING "HUNDREDS KILLED IN MAIDUGURI, KANO, YOBE, BAUCHI" "RELIGIOUS RIOTS SPREAD TO KANO, YOBE, BORNO"
- Embargoed: 13th August 2009 13:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVAAW8W3OCFH58FTYVLWUYB4SJGB
- Story Text: Nigeria's new police chief has vowed to end clashes between his men and religious fanatics in the north of the country where over a hundred lives have been lost in the past two days, most of them rioters.
Police Inspector General Ogbonna Onovo on Monday (July 27) told police chiefs in the capital, Abuja, that he would use every possible means to put an end to the attacks on police stations and government facilities in the north of the country.
"This is a fanatical organisation that is anti-government, anti-people, anti-everything. We don't know what their aims are yet but we are out to identify and arrest their leaders and also to destroy their enclaves wherever they are," said Onovo.
He said reinforcements were being sent to the affected areas.
Clashes between security forces and Muslim rebels in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri have killed 103 people over the past two days, most of them rioters, police said.
On Monday the rebels expanded their attack to three northern states.
Gunbattles between police and members of a local Islamic group, which wants a wider adoption of Islamic law across Nigeria, were reported in Yobe, Kano and Borno states.
The attacks came a day after more than 50 people were killed in neighbouring Bauchi state. The violence was not connected to unrest in the oil-producing Niger Delta in the south.
In the sprawling commercial city of Lagos, some residents said on Tuesday (July 28) that they were weary of the situation in the north
"I don't really believe the crisis in the north is religious, I think it is political, that's what it is," said Tunde Oloruntoba, a Lagos-based civil servant.
Some expressed fears the fighting could spill over to the rest of the country if it were not contained.
"We don't know where they will start it tomorrow, it might be this side or they might continue that side," Adamu Chinde, said.
Twelve of Nigeria's 36 states brought in a stricter enforcement of sharia law in 2000 -- a decision that has alienated sizeable Christian minorities and sparked bouts of sectarian violence that have killed thousands.
Speaking in Lagos on Tuesday, some Muslims said they disagreed with what what was going on in the north of the country.
"Nigerians as of now, all of us, we are praying for better things to happen to us, but not this type of thing happening now," said Chaniside Abdulsalami, after midday prayers.
Another worshipper expressed a similar sentiment:
"There is a way to settle issues between both parties, so I don't see the reason why people should be killing themselves for nothing," said Yekin Akobi.
A rebel group calling itself "Boko Haram", which opposes Western education and demands the adoption of sharia law in all of Nigeria, says it is behind the unrest and has threatened further attacks.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country is roughly equally split between Christians and Muslims.
More than 200 ethnic groups generally live peacefully side by side in the West African country, although civil war left one million people dead between 1967 and 1970 and there have been bouts of religious unrest since then.
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