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The BBC's Mark Doyle reports
"The two communities clearly set out not only to kill but to destroy the livelihoods of the other"
 real 28k

Friday, 25 February, 2000, 11:45 GMT
Nigerian mosques under guard

Burnt-out bus in Kaduna
Vehicles and homes were burnt in the riots


Troops and police are on alert in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, amid fears that further conflict could follow Friday's Muslim prayers.

Hundreds of people were killed Kaduna ealier this week, as Muslims and Christians clashed over the proposed introduction of Islamic Sharia law in the state.

The security forces are guarding mosques to head off possible violence.

Soldiers in Kaduna The army remains on alert in Kaduna
As work begins to clear up Kaduna, government officials say they now believe about 220 people were killed in this week's clashes.

But hospital officials have spoken of 300 bodies being brought in, and eyewitnesses have seen scores of bodies lying in the streets.

Homeless

Military reinforcements have restored an uneasy calm to the city, but hundreds remain homeless after houses were set alight.

Papal plea

Pope John Paul has meanwhile urged Nigerians to respect religious freedom.

Pope John Paul II in Cairo Pope John Paul: "Deep pain" over Nigerian conflict
"I have learned with deep pain that in Nigeria tensions have caused many deaths," the Pope said during the second day of his visit to Cairo.

Several states in Nigeria's Muslim-dominated north have taken steps towards implementing Sharia law - a spin-off from the greater political freedoms following Nigeria's return to democracy last year.

Sharia in Nigeria
Implemented:
Zamfara State
Signed into law:
Niger and Sokoto States

Considering Sharia
Kaduna, Kano, Yobe States
Zamfara, with an overwhelmingly Muslim population, was the first state to implement Sharia, and the transition passed off peacefully.

But in Kaduna, a larger state with a substantial Christian majority, the proposed introduction of the Islamic legal code proved particularly divisive.

Nigeria's Human Rights Law Service has meanwhile begun court proceedings to try to have Sharia declared unconstitutional in Zamfara.

But other predominantly-Muslim states in northern Nigeria have taken steps to introduce Sharia law.

The governors of Niger and Sokoto states have both signed bills under which Sharia is expected to come into effect in May.

Two others states - Kano and Yobe - are considering similar moves.

Muslims are pressing for its wider introduction, and have repeatedly stressed that Sharia will not affect Christians.

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See also:
22 Feb 00 |  Africa
Religion: Nigeria's latest flashpoint
27 Jan 00 |  Africa
The many faces of Sharia
17 Feb 00 |  Africa
Nigerian flogged for having sex
20 Jan 00 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Islamic law raises tension in Nigeria
22 Feb 00 |  Africa
Nigerian troops tackle rioters
07 Jan 00 |  Africa
Nigerian state 'bans' women's football

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