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Monday, 28 February, 2000, 18:10 GMT
Obasanjo visits riot city
Soldier and murdered man
Hundreds died in the riots
Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo of Nigeria has been visiting the northern city of Kaduna, where more than 200 people died in religious violence last week.

Amid tight security, Mr Obasanjo has seen the scenes of destruction, and was expected to meet leaders of both the Christian and Muslim communities and to appeal for calm and tolerance.

The president has so far failed to make a definitive statement outlining the federal government's position on Sharia, to help avoid another future outbreak of violence.

Injured woman
Many are homeless and injured
In his first detailed comment on the issue on Thursday, President Obasanjo said that punishments such as stoning or the cutting off of hands violated Nigeria's constitution.

Polarisation

Both the pro- and anti-Sharia factions remain polarised in the aftermath of the riots, which broke out during a Christian protest against proposals to extend Islamic Sharia law in the state of Kaduna.

Soldier and ruined building
Army reinforcements were deployed to restore order
Vehicles and cars were burnt and bodies left to rot in the street before the military succeeded in restoring order.

In recent days police have arrested people suspected of participating in the violence.

An unconfirmed report in the Nigerian Guardian newspaper says as many as 300 have been detained.

Roman Catholic bishops have warned that Nigeria could be heading towards "national suicide" over the introduction of Sharia law by several northern states, and has called on the government to act quickly to stop it.

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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
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