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Thursday, 4 January, 2001, 10:40 GMT
Nigerians flogged for drinking

Huge crowds welcomed Sharia in Kano
By Nigeria correspondent Barnaby Phillips

Two men found guilty of drinking alcohol have been flogged before large crowds in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after they became the first people in the state to be sentenced under new Islamic laws.

The Muslim men received 80 lashes each before excited crowds, after confessing, in a packed Sharia courtroom, to drinking alcohol.

Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria, extended the jurisdiction of Islamic law, or Sharia, late last year, following the example of several neighbouring states.

Later, the younger of the two promised to never drink again and said he felt happy that he had been cleansed of his sins.

Crackdown

They had been arrested by a new Islamic vigilante group known as the Hisba.


This group has been making a determined effort to end drinking and prostitution in Kano, in accordance with the Sharia.

The governor of Kano has assured Christians that they have nothing to fear, but on Tuesday a Christian man living in Kano told journalists that he too had received 80 lashed from Muslim vigilantes after they broke into his house and accused him of selling home-made beer.

Last year, thousands of people were killed in religious fighting in the nearby northern city of Kaduna.

Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he will not intervene on the Sharia controversy because of the passionate emotions that surround it.

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See also:

21 Nov 00 | Africa
Nigeria: Deaths over drink
08 Sep 00 | Africa
Nigeria's secret beer mission
10 Aug 00 | Africa
Sharia beating for motorcyclists
21 Jun 00 | Africa
Analysis: Sharia takes hold
25 May 00 | Africa
Nigeria's year of turmoil
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