Irate Muslims burn four churches in north Nigeria

( [email protected] ) Mar 22, 2004 03:06 PM EST

LAGOS - Islamic militants burned down four churches and a hotel in the northern Nigerian town of Dutse after a magistrate denied bail to a Muslim youth charged with setting another church on fire.

Police in the predominantly Muslim state of Jigawa said that irate youths went on the rampage late Wednesday in the provincial capital, southeast of Kano, Nigeria's second largest city where hundreds have died in religious clashes in the past three years.

"The miscreants were angered by the court ruling,” a senior officer told reporters by phone from Dutse. “They went around the town and burnt down four churches and one hotel."

Currently, police are investigating the violence, the second in the state in the last five months. So far, no arrests have yet been made.

Since the introduction of strict Islamic sharia penal code in 12 states, more than 5,000 people have been killed in religious violence in northern Nigeria in the past four years.