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Last Updated:  Saturday, 22 March, 2003, 02:46 GMT
Anti-war protests sweep Africa
Mombasa demo
Many young joined the Mombasa demonstration

Thousands of Muslims have taken to the streets across Africa after Friday prayers to protest against the US-led war on Iraq.

In the coastal town of Mombasa in Kenya, hundreds of youths marched carrying placards and banners, with messages condemning the United States Government and Britain.

Reaction in Nairobi to the war on Iraq

In the Somali capital Mogadishu and other towns there were protests by students, Koranic school children, women and intellectuals.

Mosques across the country directed sermons towards the issue of Iraq.

"Look at Afghanistan, what's happening in Palestine and now Iraq, and more will follow," said Sheikh Abdulleh Alasow.

"It is a war against Islam worldwide," he said. "Muslim countries should now withdraw their ambassadors from the United Nations since it has failed to protect the weak countries from the militarily strong ones," he added.

In Mauritania, a Muslim country, several hundred people including MPs, took to the streets of the capital Nouakchott in a march against the war.

Cairo protests
There have been large anti-war demonstrations in Cairo
Meanwhile, more than 400 African workers and their families have crossed into Jordan after fleeing Iraq.

The International Organisation for Migration says most of those leaving are Sudanese nationals, but there are also some Somalis, Egyptians and Chadians.

Other developments across Africa

  • South African President Thabo Mbeki, whose country has been a prominent opponent of attacks on Iraq, expressed regret, saying the war "is a blow to multilateralism".

  • The United States has shut its embassies in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

  • Nigeria says some of its citizens have been recruited to fight for Iraq against US-led forces and are preparing to leave.

  • Eritrea, one of two African countries to join Mr Bush's "coalition of the willing", said it did support the war but added that it was not directly involved in the actual conflict.

  • Ethiopia said it had offered the United States the use of its airspace and also landing rights, as requested by the US in relation to the Iraq war.

  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu said the attack on Iraq was an "immoral" war in which America was abusing its power.

The BBC's Noel Mwakuku on Focus on Africa
joins anti-war protesters in Mombasa, Kenya

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