Nigeria: Curfew declared in Sokoto after protests over student massacre | News

Deborah Samuel was beaten and burned by her fellow students for allegedly blasphemous statements about the Prophet Muhammad.

The governor of Nigeria’s Sokoto state has declared an immediate 24-hour curfew to quell protests demanding the release of suspects in the murder of student Deborah Samuel.

Samuel was beaten and burned by fellow students on Thursday for allegedly blasphemous statements about the Prophet Muhammad in a WhatsApp group.

The protests erupted after the police arrest of two students and the search for other suspects who appeared in the images of the gruesome murder of Samuel, a student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, which circulated on social media.

The governor said in a statement on Saturday that the curfew applies to the state capital, the city of Sokoto.

“Everyone should please, for the sake of peace, come home,” Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people rallied around the city for the students’ arrest following the killing, residents said.

At dawn, the young people took to the streets lighting bonfires and demanding the release of the two detainees despite the deployment of police to maintain order, neighbors said.

Some of the protesters besieged the palace of Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and the highest spiritual figure among Muslims in Nigeria, who has condemned the killing and demanded that those involved face justice.

Nigeria
Map of Nigeria showing the state of Sokoto [Al Jazeera]

“It was more of a riot by a mob of young men and women demanding the release of the two people arrested for the murder of the Christian student,” Sokoto resident Ibrahim Arkilla told AFP.

“The crowd … was also demanding that the police stop searching for those identified as participating in the murder,” said Arkilla, who witnessed the protests.

A large number of protesters besieged the Abubakar palace, said resident Bube Ando, ​​who lives near the palace, adding that police first tried to ask the protesters to leave.

“Police and soldiers who were outside the palace launched tear gas canisters and fired into the air and managed to disperse the crowd,” he said, without giving details on whether anyone was injured.

The protesters retreated to the center where they attempted to loot shops belonging to Christian residents, but were again dispersed by security patrol teams, another resident, Faruk Danhili, said.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has strongly condemned the student’s murder.

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