31 Jul 2009

Nigerian sect leader captured, killed

11:46 am on 31 July 2009

The leader of a radical Islamic sect in Nigeria has been shot dead in police detention hours after being captured.

Police say security forces captured radical preacher Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of a sect responsible for days of unrest in which more than 180 people were killed and thousands displaced.

A Reuters reporter saw Yusuf at a military barracks in the northern city of Maiduguri after his capture. Yusuf had no visible injuries and was standing up.

He was later taken to the city's police headquarters where he was killed.

Footage of his bullet-riddled body was shown on state television.

He was caught after troops stormed a mosque where militants from the sect have been hiding out.

Reports say scores of fighters were killed in the assault, which came after a third night of gun battles in Maiduguri.

Many of the militants have since fled, attacking police stations on their way.

The group, known as Boko Haram, wants to overthrow the government and impose a strict version of Islamic law.

The fighting has reportedly stopped and the streets are now quiet.

The assault by security forces came after 1,000 extra soldiers were drafted into the city.