Hundreds of people in the northwestern city of Sokoto, Nigeria, demonstrated Saturday for the arrest of two students following the murder of a Christian student Deborah Samuel accused of blasphemy.
The most populous country in Africa is roughly divided between Muslims and Christians, but religious tensions and deadly clashes are not uncommon, particularly in the north.
Deborah Samuel was stoned to death
Samuel, a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education was stoned to death on Thursday and her body burned by a crowd of Muslim college students after posting something on social media that they believed insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
The embedded video below contains graphic footage of Samuel’s murder. Proceed with caution.
Police said they made two arrests in the aftermath of the incident and began a manhunt for other suspects who appeared in footage of the gruesome murder that circulated on social media.
Young people protest in Nigeria
Early Saturday morning, young Muslims took to the streets of the city, lighting bonfires and demanding the release of the two suspected detainees despite the previous deployment of policemen to maintain order, residents said.
Some of the protesters defeated the palace of Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and the highest spiritual figure among Muslims in Nigeria, who condemned the murder and demanded that the people involved receive justice.
Request for release of murder suspects
“It was more of a riot of a crowd of young men and women demanding the release of the two people arrested for killing the Christian student,” said Ibrahim Arkilla, a resident of Sokoto. AFP.
“The crowd that made bonfires in the streets was also asking the police to stop the manhunt for those who had been identified as having taken part in the murder,” said Arkilla who witnessed the protests.
A large number of protesters defeated Abubakar’s palace by chanting “Allahu Akbar” or God is great, said resident Bube Ando who lives near the palace.
Christian-owned shops looted
“Some of the security men deployed to protect the building tried to ask the protesters to leave, but they became undisciplined,” Ando said.
“Police and soldiers standing outside the building fired tear gas and fired into the air and managed to disperse the crowd,” he said, without giving details of anyone being injured.
The angry mob retreated downtown where they attempted to ransack shops belonging to Christian residents, but were dispersed by security patrol teams, another resident Faruk Danhili said.
On Saturday afternoon, Sokoto Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal urged the protesters to return home and announced a curfew.
“After the sad incident on Thursday at Shehu Shagari College of Education and the follow-up to developments within the metropolis (Sokoto) from this morning to the afternoon … I declare, with immediate effect, a curfew … for the next 24 hours. “he said in a statement.
“Everyone should, please, for the sake of peace, go home.”
that of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari “strongly condemned” the murder of Deborah Samuel.
“Nobody has the right to take over the law in this country. Violence has and will never solve any problems, ”Buhari said in a statement Friday.
© Agence France-Presse