Government and health officials in the Northern Nigerian city of
Maiduguri cleared bodies from streets Saturday as calm returned after a
week of unrest that left hundreds of people dead.
officials are continuing to search for members of the Islamic militant
sect known as Boko Haram who are blamed for violence that erupted last
Sunday after security forces arrested some of the group's leaders. For
five days, the militants attacked police stations, churches and
Security forces retaliated later in the
week, killing at least 100 Boko Haram members. Officials say thousands
of people were displaced by the fighting.
On Thursday, the
group's leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed by police. Officials insist
he died in a gun battle near his headquarters in Maiduguri, but international human rights groups have called for an investigation into the killing.
Police sharply rejected any suggestion of an extrajudicial killing.
Some reports indicate as many as 600 people died in the unrest.
say former Borno State commissioner for Religious Affairs Alhaji Buji
Fai, who is a Boko Haram supporter, was also killed in the violence.
How he died is unclear.
Police also have rejected reports that
Boko Haram is affiliated with international terrorist groups. A police
official, Naralyn Ogar, said that despite calling themselves "the
Nigerian Taliban," Boko Haram is a group of religious fundamentalists
who have no affiliation with outside organizations.
followers want northern Nigeria to adopt a strict interpretation of
Islamic law. Boko Haram, loosely translated, means "Western education
is sinful." Nigerian officials have called the group the "Taliban," a
reference to militants based in Afghanistan.
A dozen of
Nigeria's 36 states have introduced strict Islamic 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.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.