Outrage over 'execution' of Nigerian leader

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The Independent Online

Nigerian authorities collected hundreds of bodies from the streets of this northern city yesterday after days of clashes with members of a radical Islamic sect. State government and health ministry officials piled the corpses, some of them swollen after lying in the streets for days, on to open trucks as police and soldiers patrolled.

Nigeria's national police have claimed victory over a radical Islamist sect after its leader was killed by security forces, but experts warned revenge attacks could occur and a leading human rights group demanded an inquiry into the death.

Officials said Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the sect some call the Nigerian Taliban, was killed after being captured on Thursday night at the end of a four-day manhunt. “This group operates under a charismatic leader. They will no more have any inspiration,” national police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said. “The leader who they thought was invincible and immortal has now been proved otherwise.”

Mr Ojukwu said there were still some isolated cases of violence in northern Nigeria, but otherwise “life is back to normal”.

New York-based Human Rights Watch called for an investigation. “The Nigerian authorities must act immediately to investigate and hold to account all those responsible for this unlawful killing and any others associated with the recent violence,” said Corinne Dufka, the group’s senior West Africa researcher.

Mr Yusuf had discounted evolution and claimed the world could not be round because the Koran does not say that. He also credited Allah with creating rain. Experts said it was not clear yet if Mr Yusuf’s death would end the violence in northern Nigeria or inspire revenge attacks by the Boko Haram sect, which seeks the imposition of strict shariah in the multi-religious country.