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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
'New Sharia law' in Nigeria state
Man with amputated hand
Only a few amputations have been carried out
The northern Nigerian state of Zamfara has introduced a new package of Islamic, or Sharia, laws.

All businesses in the state will have to shut down during the five daily Muslim prayers.

The state government also says that all "unauthorised" places of worship will be shut down under "Sharia phase two".

Zamfara was the first Nigerian state to introduce strict Sharia laws in 2000 and thousands turned out to welcome the new measures on Wednesday.

Death sentences

The BBC's Yusuf Sarki Muhammad in the state capital, Gusau, says it is not clear whether churches will be targeted for closure under the new measures.

Zamfara state sign
Thousands died in religious clashes over Sharia
He says there are many unauthorised places of worship in Zamfara, as elsewhere in Nigeria.

Most other states in the predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria followed Zamfara by introducing Sharia laws.

Thieves have had their hands amputated and several women have been sentenced to death by stoning for having extra-marital sex.

But no death sentences have yet been carried out.

The new laws led to clashes between Christians and Muslims, in which thousands of people died.

Q&A: Sharia in Zamfara state
02 Sep 03  |  Africa
Analysis: Nigeria's Sharia split
07 Jan 03  |  Africa

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