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Nigerian police: Thousands detained in raid on Islamic camp

  • Story Highlights
  • Nearly 4,000 members of Darul Islam group detained in northern Nigeria
  • Detentions "based on a fear of them becoming violent," police commissioner says
  • Reports: Camp was place where members could observe strict Islamist principles
  • Move follows a violent uprising of a different Islamist group
From Christian Purefoy
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LAGOS, Nigeria (CNN) -- Police in northern Nigeria on Saturday detained almost 4,000 members of an Islamic community, claiming the group posed a potential violent threat, the police commissioner in the Nigerian state of Niger told CNN.

Commissioner Michael Zuokumor said that 3,950 people who belong to an Islamic sectarian group called Darul Islam were "evacuated" from their main camp in a town called Mokwa.

The Darul Islam members were being detained inside a local school building, Zuokumor said. The detention continued into Sunday.

The police raid was "based on a fear of them becoming violent," he said.

It was unclear whether any formal charges would be brought against the group.

The raid follows the violent uprising of another Islamist group, Boko Haram. More than 700 people were killed in clashes between Islamic militants and authorities.

Boko Haram, an Islamist sect, wants the government to impose Islamic law, known as sharia, in the entire Muslim-dominated northern half of Nigeria.

According to reports, the Darul Islam camp was created as a place where members could observe strict Islamist principles.

There was no violence during the raid, but the group was "capable of violence," Zuokumor said.

Immigration officials also participated in the raid, as some group members were believed to be from elsewhere in west Africa.

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