Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nigeria: Sultan of Sokoto condemns Boko Haram crackdown

29 July 2011

It is the first time the spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslims has spoken about the insurgency

The sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslims, has condemned the military crackdown against the Islamist Boko Haram sect.

"We cannot solve violence with violence," Mohamed Sa'ad Abubakar told a meeting of religious leaders.


Correspondents say many residents of Maiduguri are now more scared of the army than they are of Boko Haram.

"That problem can never be solved by drafting soldiers into cities where there is [a] problem - and in the process innocent lives were lost," said the sultan, who once served as military officer.

It is the first time the sultan has spoken about the Boko Haram insurgency.

Muslim clerics who have criticised the sect have been among those targeted for assassination in drive-by shootings over the past year.

The sultan also said the five policemen who have just gone on trial this month for the killing of Mr Yusuf should not be given bail.

Boko Haram's official name is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad".

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