Islamic sect leader filmed in custody before his killing

This video shows Nigerian Islamist militant Mohammed Yusuf just before he was handed over to the police. Hours later, he died. The footage of the sect leader being interrogated by the army strongly implies that the he was not killed in battle, as initially reported by the authorities.

The details of 39-year-old cleric Mohammed Yusuf's death remain unclear. Blamed for the anti-state violence which saw five days of bloodshed in Nigeria's northern Borno state, Yusuf was killed by authorities on the afternoon of Thursday 2, his bullet-riddled body put on display outside the police station

It was initially reported that he died during an exchange of fire. But inconsistencies between the police and the army revealed that he had actually been arrested and detained. It emerged that he had been found hiding in his wife's parents' goat pen in the town of Maidiguri, and arrested by the army, who then interrogated him - seen in the video - before handing him over to the police. It was after this that he died. The police deny responsibility for his death, however, saying only that he died trying to escape the authorities. On Wednesday President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua ordered an investigation into his death.

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The interrogation

The source of the video remains unknown. Translation from Hausa by Nigerian daily NEXT and AFP. Subtitles by FRANCE 24.

The video continues for five minutes before the army adjourns the interrogation. Yusuf goes on to say that his supporters only took to the streets after being attacked by the police, that he has no help from inside the country or abroad, and that his deputy is Mallam Abubakar Shakauw.

Accusations of extrajudicial murders

Not only at blame for Mohammed Yusuf's death, the authorities are also facing accusations from human rights groups for the shooting dead of around 800 civilians. These were purportedly extremist militants trying to storm police stations and primary schools, but the following footage appears to suggest otherwise. The video, filmed by an eyewitness in Maiduguri, shows the army shooting an unarmed civilian.

An anonymous webuser sent the video to The Nigerian Village Square along with the following comment:

"I am a citizen of Maiduguri and an eye witness of the crisis that occurred. People with beards are being shot point blank. (...) Innocent civilians are being executed by the police and army."

"If we could only see one of these people in trial then we would be able to find out more and tackle this problem"

Philip Adekunle runs the Nigerian Village Square website. He left Nigeria 12 years ago and is now based in Chicago. He was sent the amateur video of the extrajudicial killings and posted it on his website.

  Mohammed Yusuf was relatively unknown before he was killed. He's one of many religious fanatics that have ended in the same way. They spring up, cause a lot of trouble, and then get killed. What we want to see, for once, is one of them go to trial. I was furious when I found out he'd been killed.

It's not just a religious crisis going on in the north; it's far more complicated than that. Behind this religious façade, politics is lurking. Corruption too. The problem is, the Borno area is so poor, that there are people who will follow these movements looking for guidance. If we could only see one of these people in trial then we would be able to find out more and tackle this problem. Instead they are killed in police custody. That's how they bring justice in Nigeria. Whatever this guy was up to, he's dead now, so we'll never find out."

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