“Niger has arrested seven suspected Islamic militants over an uprising in neighbouring Nigeria last week and has offered to extradite them, a Niger official said on Monday.” This from Reuters.
“Militants stormed police stations and local government buildings in at least five towns in northern Nigeria last week in what state media called an attempt to set up a Taliban-style Islamic government in part of Africa’s most populous nation.”
It may seem curious that Nigerians would want to set up a “Taliban-style Islamic government.” After all, when the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, it was widely portrayed as eccentric in its strictness to Islamic laws. Many of its excesses were not portrayed as manifestations of Islamic law at all, but as strange creations of the Taliban itself. But the fact is that the Taliban was following a broad tradition in Islamic law — one that these Nigerians were trying to implement in their part of the world as well.
“The Niger official went to Nigeria’s Borno state capital Maiduguri to tell authorities of the arrests after Nigerian troops crushed the week-long uprising.
‘We have arrested seven of the Islamic militants who attacked Yobe and Borno states last week,’ the official, who asked not to be named, told reporters. He said he invited the governors of the states to Niger to take custody of the detainees, who were arrested in a hideout in Niger’s Diffa Province.
“Authorities in Nigeria said about six people died during the unrest, including at least one policeman, although military sources said the death toll was higher. A Nigerian tank battalion of 500 troops has joined hundreds of police and state security officials combing the savannah region bordering Niger for members of the group, named by local media as Ahlul Sunnah Jamaa. . . .
“Nigeria’s 130 million population is split roughly equally between Muslims and Christians. Religious and ethnic fighting has killed at least 10,000 people since 1999 when military rule ended in the world seventh biggest oil exporter.
“More than half the deaths have been in religious violence in the predominantly Muslim north, where 12 states imposed Islamic sharia law four years ago.
“The state-run News Agency of Nigeria described the militants as disaffected university students who wanted strict Islamic rule along the lines of Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime.”