Skip to comments.Niger arrests Islamic radicals over Nigeria revolt
Posted on 01/05/2004 12:02:39 PM PST by Happy2BMe
|05 Jan 2004 15:00:04 GMT
Niger arrests Islamic radicals over Nigeria revolt
Militants stormed police stations and local government buildings in at least five towns in northern Nigeria last week in what state media called an attempt to set up a Taliban-style Islamic government in part of Africa's most populous nation.
The Niger official went to Nigeria's Borno state capital Maiduguri to tell authorities of the arrests after Nigerian troops crushed the week-long uprising.
"We have arrested seven of the Islamic militants who attacked Yobe and Borno states last week," the official, who asked not to be named, told reporters.
He said he invited the governors of the states to Niger to take custody of the detainees, who were arrested in a hideout in Niger's Diffa Province.
Authorities in Nigeria said about six people died during the unrest, including at least one policeman, although military sources said the death toll was higher.
A Nigerian tank battalion of 500 troops has joined hundreds of police and state security officials combing the savannah region bordering Niger for members of the group, named by local media as Ahlul Sunnah Jamaa.
"The militants are breaking up in small numbers to make their arrest difficult, but the whole brigade has been mobilised to search for those militants still at large," said Brigadier General Harris Musa Zarma.
Yobe state government spokesman Ibrahim Jirgi said the group, also known as Hijrah, was composed mostly of students in their 20s.
Nigeria's 130 million population is split roughly equally between Muslims and Christians. Religious and ethnic fighting has killed at least 10,000 people since 1999 when military rule ended in the world seventh biggest oil exporter.
More than half the deaths have been in religious violence in the predominantly Muslim north, where 12 states imposed Islamic sharia law four years ago.
The state-run News Agency of Nigeria described the militants as disaffected university students who wanted strict Islamic rule along the lines of Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime.
Now it covets Europe, South America, and most importantly to the majority of those here - The United States of America. The jihad continues . .
Onward Muslim (student) Soldiers ping!
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