Tuesday, August 4, 2009

700 die in fighting in northern Nigeria

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LAGOS, Nigeria (CNN)

The fighting in the northeast Nigerian town of Maiduguri began with attacks by the Muslim militants on police and government targets, starting a week ago.

Boko Haram, an Islamist sect, wants the government to impose Islamic law, known as sharia, in the entire Muslim-dominated northern half of Nigeria. Sharia is already practiced in some northern states, but the sect wants even tougher religious laws and also opposes Western education.

A Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was reported captured Thursday by the military, but was found dead after he was turned over to police. Human rights groups are seeking more information on his death, and have also expressed concern about civilian casualties.

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