Student killed by mobs at Nigerian school over blasphemy allegations

The girl, Deborah Yakubu, was surrounded by fellow students and attacked on Thursday, according to a police statement.

The incident occurred at the Shehu Shagari School in Sokoto, northwestern Nigeria, and the school was immediately shut down.

“The students forcibly removed the victim from the security room where the school authorities were hiding her, killed her and burned down the building,” police spokesman Sanusi Abubakar said in a statement sent to CNN.

Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal issued an order to close the school and ordered the Ministry of Higher Education and security agencies to investigate the incident.

The video, which circulated on social media after the murder, appears to show her attackers holding a box of matches and celebrating after setting it on fire.

CNN has not been able to independently verify the video.

Two people have been arrested and “The suspects in the viral video on Twitter have been discovered and will be arrested soon,” Abubakar added.

religious tensions

Nigerians expressed their outrage on Twitter and denounced the murder. TThere are fears it could heighten sectarian tensions in the country, which is largely divided along religious lines, with a Muslim majority in the north and a mostly Christian majority.

“The murderers of Christian women in Sokoto must be arrested and punished!” Farooq Kperogi tweeted.professor at Kennesaw State University.

“Sadly, this kind of inconsequential killing of people in the name of vindictive ‘blasphemy’ has been going on for far too long in the North. This must end!” he said. “The monsters in that video are easily identifiable. The Sokoto state government must stop them immediately and make an example of them. If that doesn’t happen, this kind of murderous barbarism will continue.”

Community leaders have called for calm and urged authorities to punish the attackers.

The Rev. Matthew Kukah of the Diocese of Sokoto said in a statement: “This has nothing to do with religion. Christians have lived in peace with their Muslim neighbors here in Sokoto over the years… The law must take its course.”

Kola Alapinni, a lawyer who has defended those accused of blasphemy in Nigerian courts, said he was working on the appeal of another man sentenced to death for blasphemy when he learned of Yakubu’s murder.

He told CNN that blasphemy does not exist under Nigeria’s constitutional laws, although some northern Muslim states recognize it under Sharia law.

“The state government is hiding under a section of its Sharia laws that punishes inciting statements or insulting statements to the Prophet Mohammed. It needs to be tested in the Court of Appeal or even the High Court.”

“The primary job of the state is the safety of lives and property. And here, it has failed. The seriousness of the Nigerian government in ending this threat will be measured by the response of the state in bringing those responsible for this murder to justice.” “. Alapinni added.

campaign season

The incident comes as the campaign season for next year’s presidential election begins: primaries are scheduled for later this month.

Opposition party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar drew criticism for removing social media posts condemning the killing after Muslim supporters vowed not to vote for him.

CNN has contacted your spokesperson for comment.

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There have been previous incidents of mobs attacking people for alleged blasphemy in Nigeria. One of the most notable cases. It was during the Miss World 2002 competition, which was supposed to take place in Nigeria, but was moved after violent protests in which 100 people died.

Riots broke out when the ThisDay newspaper published an article about the contest that was seen as insulting to Muslims. The article supported the pageant against Muslim criticism, saying that if the Prophet Muhammad were alive, he would consider marrying one of the contestants.

The newspaper’s offices in Kaduna were set on fire and there were reports of churches and mosques being set on fire.

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