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Sunday, 14 October, 2001, 04:59 GMT 05:59 UK
Nigerian protest erupts into violence
Kano
Muslims in Kano celebrated the introduction of Sharia
A night-time curfew was imposed on the northern Nigerian city of Kano after violent clashes broke out on Saturday between Christians and Muslims, killing at least 13 people.

A peaceful protest had been staged on Friday against the US attacks on Afghanistan but these erupted into violence after youths began setting fire to cars and religious buildings.

Officials have confirmed 13 people were killed on Saturday as police were ordered to shoot-on-sight as they tried to bring the continuing rioting under control.

Long-running battles between Muslims and Christians in the country have led to thousands of deaths in the past year, but officials are playing down religion as the cause of the new violence.

Kano state government spokesman Ibrahim Gwawargwa is blaming the rioting on "hoodlums" hijacking the protest and looting shops owned by both Christians and Muslims.

'Higher death toll'

Police commissioner Yakubu Bello Uba said the dead included five people who were killed by police officers.

But there have been reports of a higher death toll, with many more injured.

Mosques and churches were reportedly torched as well as shops and businesses.

The BBC's Dan Isaacs in Lagos reports that clashes spread rapidly to many parts of Kano, particularly those with large non-Muslim populations. Security forces quickly moved in with tear gas and live rounds.

Although Kano is predominantly Muslim, it is also home to a large number of Christians and after recent religious clashes elsewhere in the country, notably in the city of Jos, such an outbreak of violence in the north has long been feared.

Tensions have increased since many northern states, including Kano, imposed Shariah law, or Islamic law, in 2000.

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The BBC's Fiona Werge
"A night-time curfew is now in place"
See also:

09 Sep 01 | Africa
Dozens killed in Nigeria violence
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