Nigeria : des centaines de personnes manifestent leur soutien à deux étudiants suspectés d'avoir tué une camarade chrétienne

Nigeria : des centaines de personnes manifestent leur soutien à deux étudiants suspectés d’avoir tué une camarade chrétienne

Hundreds of people demonstrated in Sokoto, northwestern Nigeria, to protest the arrest of two students following the murder of a Christian student accused of blasphemy. Dozens of students from the Shehu Shagari School stoned Deborah Samuel on Thursday and then burned her body after reading a comment she posted on social media that was seen as offensive to the Prophet Muhammad.

Police later announced that they had arrested two men and were looking for other suspects appearing in a video of the murder that circulated on social media. In response, young Muslims took to the streets of Sokoto to demand the release of the two detainees, according to residents. Some of the protesters went to the palace of Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto and the highest Islamic figure in Nigeria, who condemned the killing and demanded that the culprits be brought to justice.

A 24-hour curfew decreed

“Security forces deployed to protect the palace asked the protesters to leave, but they got out of hand”said another resident, who lives near the palace. “Police and soldiers threw tear gas canisters and fired into the air and managed to disperse the crowd”. The angry mob then retreated to the town center where they attempted to loot shops owned by Christians, but were dispersed by law enforcement, according to another resident.

Sokoto Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal urged protesters to return home. After the “sad incident that happened at Shehu Shagari School on Thursday and morning developments in the metropolis [de Sokoto]I declare, with immediate effect, a curfew (…) for the next 24 hours”he said in a statement. “Everyone must, please, in the interest of peace, go home.” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has “firmly condemned” the murder of Deborah Samuel, claiming that “No one has the right to take the law into their own hands”.

Nigeria, a giant of 215 million people divided almost evenly between a predominantly Muslim North and a predominantly Christian South, is one of the most religious countries in the world. In Islam, blasphemy, especially against the Prophet, is punishable by death under Sharia law, introduced in 2000 in 12 northern Nigerian states. Islamic courts, which operate alongside the state justice system, have already handed down death sentences for adultery, blasphemy or homosexuality, but no executions have taken place so far.

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