Over 50 killed in post-election violence in Nigeria: Witnesses

People protesting the victory of Jonathan burnt homes, churches and police stations.

Last Updated: Apr 21, 2011, 00:11 AM IST

Abuja: Close on the heels of incumbent
Goodluck Jonathan emerging victorious in Presidential polls in
Nigeria, more than 50 people have been killed and thousands
displaced in post-election riots in the country`s Muslim-
dominated north, witnesses said Wednesday.

People protesting the victory of Jonathan burnt homes,
churches and police stations. Anti-riot policemen and the
military were deployed in the streets following rioting.

Riots broke out in the north after Jonathan, a
Christian from the south was declared winner on Monday of a
landmark vote that exposed regional tensions and led to the
deadly rioting.

Jonathan secured 60.02 per cent of the vote and easily
beat his northern rival, ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari,
who had only 30 per cent.

More than 50 people have been killed with many
wounded in rioting in states of Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe, Niger,
Borno, Jigawa, and Nasarawa, eyewitnesses and hospital sources said.

An estimated 25,000 have been displaced and some 375
wounded, according to the Red Cross.

24-hours curfew was imposed in Kaduna and Kano while
limited restrictions of movement were enforced in the
remaining states as Buhari`s supporters took to the street
violently protesting the results of the elections.

"I saw up to 30 bodies on the ground as I was
returning from the market. But now, we have been forced to
stay indoors and supplies have run out. We cannot get anything
to eat," Zainab Audu, a resident of Kaduna said.

"The rioters burnt mosques, churches and houses. They
killed people and it was difficult to sleep in the night
because every now and then people banged on our door asking us
to run out to avoid being caught in any possible inferno that
may result from house burning," she added.

Dead bodies were littered along the streets in areas
hit by unrest.

A hospital source said on condition of anonymity
that more than 20 bodies were dumped at Kaduna General
Hospital.
In Kano and Bauchi, authorities have been reluctant to
give exact death toll to avoid reprisals in the southern part
of the country.

Despite the post-poll violence, observers have hailed
the conduct of the vote as a major step forward for a nation
with a history of violent and deeply flawed elections.

Jonathan called on political and religious leaders to
condemn the violence sand said most of the rioters appeared to
be "unemployed young people".

Buhari, whose party has rejected the results and filed
a challenge to them also condemned the rioting in brief
comments to the BBC`s Hausa-language service.

Jonathan came to power last year when his
predecessor died in office following a lengthy illness.

He is the first president to come from the Southern
minority group that has been agitating for resource control
since petroleum exploration started in the early seventies.

Jonathan will be sworn-in on May 29 to serve a
four-year term.

PTI