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Saturday, 17 November, 2001, 23:44 GMT
Nigeria 'arrests Pakistani preachers'
Woman running along a road
Parts of Nigeria have seen repeated sectarian violence
Six Pakistani Muslim preachers have been arrested in south-west Nigeria for allegedly inciting religious violence, press reports say.

According to independent Lagos daily newspaper The Guardian, the six men and their Nigerian host were picked up after residents in Sagamu, a suburb of the city of Lagos, tipped off a traditional ruler.

Residents said the preachers had used a public address system to propagate messages which they considered strange and capable of causing violence.

Immigration spokesman Ayo Oredipe told the newspaper that the men's documents were being investigated.

Even if their papers were genuine, they could still be advised to leave the country for security reasons, he said.

Ongoing violence

About 100 people were killed in ethnic and religious violence in the town in 1999.

Sagamu is in an area of Nigeria dominated by the Yoruba people, but has a large community of northern, mainly Muslim Hausas.

Correspondents say that Nigeria is experiencing its worst cycle of ethnic violence for many years.

Economic hardships - combined with religious strife over the US military action in Afghanistan - have led to increased unrest in several Nigerian cities over the past few months.

See also:

15 Oct 01 | Africa
Analysis: Nigeria's Sharia split
21 Jun 00 | Africa
Analysis: Sharia takes hold
21 Jun 00 | Africa
The many faces of Sharia
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