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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 17:07 GMT
Eyewitness: A narrow escape in Abuja
Abuja's central mosque
The rioting began near Abuja's main mosque

After Friday prayers at the main mosque in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, Muslim youths took to the streets destroying the vehicles of motorists and burning police cars.

They were beating people and shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great), asking people if they were Christians - and if they were then beating them up.

It has been total chaos out on the streets.

I myself was caught up in the midst of a group of hundreds of youths - some armed with knives, sticks and daggers.

Some were saying I was a Christian. I had to shout Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Muhammad Rasoul Illah (God is great, God is great, Muhammad is the prophet of God) before they would let me go

I am still really shaking as it was a very frightening situation.

The youths are now moving to the Muslim market in the heart of the city

So many people have been injured. So many have been wounded by daggers and sticks.

I can't really say for sure how many are hurt. I was confused being caught up in the crowd.

The police have now started moving in to try to control the situation.

What one can say is that the scene is very chaotic around the central mosque area with cars driving in all directions.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Richard Slee
"The arrival of Miss World has exposed Nigeria's finely balanced religious sensitivities"
Guy Murray-Bruce, Miss World publicist
"It's just a form of entertainment which in a democratic setting should be allowed"
Anthony Goldman, Financial Times
"What the pageant has done is to showcase Nigeria at its absolute worst"
 VOTE RESULTS
Should the Miss World Pageant be cancelled?

Yes
 58.45% 

No
 41.55% 

14484 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


Miss World row

Analysis

Features

BACKGROUND

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Turning ugly
Miss World: Was it right to quit Nigeria?
See also:

21 Nov 02 | Africa
22 Nov 02 | Africa
09 Nov 02 | Africa
22 Nov 02 | Africa
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