Posted on August 6, 2004

Nigeria Wife-Swapping Sect Raided

BBC News, Aug. 5

Several people have been killed after Nigerian police raided the headquarters of an Islamic sect, whose members exchanged their wives.

Members of the Yan-Gwagwarmaya sect battled the police with guns and machetes before being overwhelmed, the police say.

Residents of the remote north-western town of Birnin Kebbi complained after they tried to recruit local youths.

Five policemen, including an assistant commissioner, were seriously injured.

The group’s leader, Sanusi Makera-Gandu was also badly hurt in the clashes.

The BBC’s Elizabeth Blunt in the capital, Abuja, says this is the latest in a series of such incidents in Nigeria involving Muslim youths who set up their own communities and refused to accept conventional civil or religious authority.


The authorities refuse to say exactly how many people were killed in the raid.

The sect, which is reported to have thousands of followers, had incensed other local Muslim groups by calling their base the Kabah — after Islam’s holiest site in the Saudi Arabian town of Mecca.

They walked around the courtyard of their base, as Muslims do on the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Their motto is: “Love your neighbour as yourself, share your wives with your neighbour.”

Casualty figures are extremely sensitive in Nigeria — and are often played down for fear of inflaming tensions.

In January, another Islamic sect calling itself the Taleban attacked police stations in north-eastern Nigeria.