Fighting continued in northern Nigeria Wednesday as government forces battled members of a radical Islamic sect.
sources say the latest clashes have been centered in the regional
capital of Maiduguri. Officials say at least 3,000 people have been
temporarily displaced by the fighting.
On Tuesday, government
forces in the city shelled the home of Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of
the group thought to be behind a series of deadly attacks across the
region that have killed at least 150 people.
The Boko Haram sect
- the so-called "Nigerian Taliban" - is believed to be responsible
for attacks on police and government officials across the region.
continued fighting comes after Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua told
reporters late Tuesday that the situation was under control.
violence began Sunday when the group attacked a police station in
Bauchi state following the arrest of some of their leaders.
clashes spread across the states of Yobe, Kano and Borno, with the city
of Maiduguri bearing the brunt of the fighting. Authorities say the
militants also have burned several churches across the region.
Boko Haram group opposes Western culture and wants to establish a
strict Islamic state across all of Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria.
dozen of Nigeria's 36 states have introduced strict Islamic Sharia 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.
On Tuesday, United
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced alarm over the deadly
clashes. A spokesperson for Mr. Ban said the U.N. chief condemned the
"unnecessary loss of human life" and property destruction as a result
of the militant attacks.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.