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Uprising By Islamic Militants Reported Put Down By Nigerian Authorities - 2004-01-05

A Nigerian state governor says authorities have crushed an uprising by a militant Islamic group in the north of the country.

The governor of the northeastern Yobe state, Bukar Ibrahim, says the militants from the little-known Al Sunnah Jamma have either been killed or arrested during a series of clashes in the past week. Police say at least one officer has also been killed.

Officials say the fighting began when members of the group stormed police buildings and local government offices in several towns in Yobe state, including the state capital, Damaturu. They say the radicals set fire to several buildings and stole vehicles and weapons.

Government troops have been dispatched to aid police in fighting and tracking down the militants.

Nigerian officials say the militant group is made up of university-educated Muslims who want a stricter version of Islamic law in the region. They say the radicals also call themselves Taleban, after the militant former rulers in Afghanistan.

Twelve northern states in Nigeria have adopted Islamic law, or Sharia -- a move that has heightened tensions between Nigeria's Muslims and Christians. The country's population is roughly divided between the two religious communities.