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Nigerian Rights Group Says 600 Killed in North’s Post-Election Violence

ICC Note

The attacks started after a Christian candidate won presidential election in Nigeria.  Then Muslims in northern Nigeria began killing Christians and burning churches.

By Dulue Mbachu and Ardo Hazzad

04/25/2011 Nigeria (Bloomberg)-At least 600 people were killed in violence between Muslim and Christian ethnic groups in Nigeria, triggered by opposition protests against President Goodluck Jonathan’s victory in the April 16 election, a local civic group said.

Most of the victims, 516 people, were killed in Kaduna state, Shehu Sani, executive director of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress, said in a telephone interview from the city today, citing reports from members. “We keep discovering more details of massacres that have been carried out in the hinterland.”

The mainly Muslim supporters of Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler in Africa’s top oil producer and candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, attacked backers of Jonathan, the election winner, of the People’s Democratic Party, and clashed with Christians in the Kaduna city, the state capital. The violence spread to seven other towns and cities in the mainly Muslim region.

Legislative Election
Jonathan, a Christian from the oil-rich Niger River delta region, defeated Buhari by 57 percent to 31 percent, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission. Buhari’s party rejected the outcome, saying it was marred by fraud.

Most local and international observers, while noting incidents of underage voting and suspicious turnout figures, called the vote credible. The last elections, in 2007, were described by international and local monitors as flawed because of intimidation of voters and ballot fraud.

Three explosions in the northern city of Maiduguri late yesterday killed three people and injured 14, Mai Mamman, a police spokesman in the city said. Authorities in Nigeria’s north have blamed a group known as Boko Haram, which draws inspiration from Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, for a spate of bomb attacks and killings targeting government officials since last year.

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