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Protest march in Nigeria ends in retaliation

Violence follows Muslim rally

KANO, Nigeria -- Angry young Muslim men attacked ''nonbelievers" with machetes yesterday, while others burned cars, stores, and apartments in apparent revenge for last week's killings of hundreds of Muslims by a Christian group.

Three corpses -- one charred and another badly mutilated -- lay in the streets; it was unclear who killed them. There were unconfirmed reports of several others killed by young men who barricaded streets with burning tires and garbage.

The violence came hours after thousands of Muslim protesters -- some carrying daggers, sickles, and clubs -- marched from the main mosque in the northern city of Kano, traditionally a hotbed of religious tensions.

Amina Usman, a 19-year-old university student, recounted seeing two mutilated bodies next to a makeshift checkpoint where young Muslim Hausa-speaking men armed with sticks, knives, and clubs were searching cars for Christians and animists and asking passengers to recite Muslim prayers.

''It was hell," said Mohammed Aliyu, another university student, who said he saw five bodies in another part of Kano, Nigeria's largest Muslim city, one with a burning tire around its neck.

Demonstrators were protesting attacks on Muslims by fighters from the Tarok-speaking tribe in the central Nigerian town of Yelwa. A Red Cross official has said between 500 and 600 people died in the Yelwa attacks, while the Nigerian government's emergency response agency estimates fewer than half that number.

An Associated Press reporter saw youths at a makeshift checkpoint of burning tires strike three young women with machetes after accusing them of being ''nonbelievers" for wearing Western-style skirts and blouses. The women escaped with bleeding head wounds after several motorcycle taxi drivers intervened.

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