updated 5/10/2010 1:49:34 PM ET 2010-05-10T17:49:34

A Nigerian government spokesman says the radical Islamist sect whose violent attacks led to fighting that killed 700 people in northern Nigeria last year has been outlawed in the state where the group is based.

Shehu Liberty says that Borno state governor Ali Sheriff has signed an order to declare the Boko Haram group "a dangerous religious sect to the state." He says it is now illegal for anyone in the state to parade themselves as a member of the sect.

Boko Haram — translated as "Western education is sacrilege" — seeks the imposition of strict Islamic Shariah law in Nigeria, a multi-religious country that is a major oil producer and Africa's most populous nation.

Liberty said Monday that the governor made the decision based on the recommendations of a committee set up to investigate the July 2009 violence.

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