Although observers have called the vote the fairest in decades, and that the Christian candidate President Goodluck Jonathan won easily, Muslims need no excuse to do what they do best, burn, slaughter, and cause mayhem.
The Red Cross said many people were killed after Muslim youths torched churches and homes in anger after polls showed Jonathan, from the southern oil-producing Niger Delta, had beaten Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler from the north.
AP writes: “The damage is immense. A lot of buildings have been torched: houses, businesses and religious centers,” said Umar Mairiga of the Nigerian Red Cross. More than 270 people had been wounded and some 15,000 had been displaced by the violence, he said.
(CBS News) ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Angry opposition supporters in Nigeria’s Muslim north set fire to homes bearing ruling party banners Monday and heavy gunfire rang out in several towns as election officials released results showing the Christian incumbent had gained an insurmountable lead.
Results from Saturday’s election released live on national television indicated President Goodluck Jonathan had a commanding lead of more than 10 million votes with only two states left to be announced. The Muslim north had largely voted for former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari’s party brought a formal complaint Monday afternoon to the nation’s electoral commission over vote tallies, alleging massive rigging in Jonathan’s homeland. The letter also alleged that the computer software used to tally results had been tampered with in northern states to favor the ruling party.
“What is being exhibited to the world is not collated from polling units but … a lot of manipulations,” the letter read.
In a statement, the federal police blamed the violence on “persons who failed to accept the results,” denying it came from religious or ethnic roots. Election officials said they would finish releasing election results later Monday regardless of the ongoing violence.
Witnesses said youths in the northern city of Kano were setting fires to homes that bore Jonathan party banners. Heavy gunfire also could be heard. An Associated Press reporter there saw hundreds of youths carrying wooden planks in the street, shouting “Only Buhari” in the local Hausa language.
“What I am looking for now is rescue, the mob is still outside. I need rescue,” said Mark Asu-Obi, who was trapped inside his Kano home with his wife and three children. “There are hoodlums all over the place. It’s not just my place that they are attacking. I am not a politician. I am an independent observer.”
In Kaduna, home to the oil-rich nation’s vice president, angry young men burned tires in the streets and threw stones at police and soldiers trying to restore order, witnesses said.
“Right now, I’m holed up in my room. There’s gunshots everywhere,” said Shehu Sani, a civil rights leader. “They are firing and killing people on the street.”
Kaduna state police spokesman Aminu Lawal described the fighting there as an “uprising.” In neighboring Katsina state, a mob attacked a prison and freed 42 inmates, police spokesman Abubakar Mohammed said.