BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 10 January, 2001, 20:52 GMT
Eclipse triggers Nigeria riot
lunar eclipse
Muslims traditionally greet a lunar eclipse with prayers
By Barnaby Phillips in Lagos

Riot police are patrolling the streets of the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri in the wake of rioting sparked off by the sighting Tuesday night's lunar eclipse.


Hundreds of Muslim youths attacked hotels, bars and brothels after seeing that the moon was starting to disappear.

Reports from Maiduguri say the youths blamed the eclipse on what they call the preponderance of sinful activities in the city. They attacked mainly Christian targets.

The youths poured out on to the streets soon after the eclipse began. They were chanting "God is great !" and "We want Sharia" - the strict Islamic legal code which has already been adopted in Maiduguri.

Churches targeted

A Christian leader told the BBC that at least one church was burned down and he said riot police used tear gas to protect other churches.

Sharia provisions
Based on the Koran
Provides an overall ethical framework for Muslims
Includes prayers, fasting, charity - as well as a legal code
Women should veil themselves
Physical punishment for crimes - including amputation, flogging, stoning

Several bars and a hotel were also set ablaze.

Some soldiers joined the police on the streets of Maiduguri on Wednesday morning, and it appears that the presence of the security forces prevented a potentially explosive situation from worsening.

Islamic leaders in Maiduguri have been quick to condemn the riot, which they blamed on poorly-educated youths who understand nothing of their own religion.

According to the scholars, Muslims traditionally greet a lunar eclipse with prayers.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

10 Aug 00 | Africa
Sharia beating for motorcyclists
21 Jun 00 | Africa
Analysis: Sharia takes hold
25 May 00 | Africa
Kaduna settles down
21 Jun 00 | Africa
The many faces of Sharia
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories