Student killed by mobs in a Nigerian school for blasphemy

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

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

“The students forcibly removed the victim from the security room where she was hidden by the school authorities, killed her and burned the building,” police spokesman Sanusi Abubakar said in a statement released 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 in the aftermath of the murder, appears to show its attackers holding a matchbox and celebrating after setting it on fire.

CNN was unable to independently verify the video.

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

Religious tensions

Nigerians expressed their outrage on Twitter and reported the murder. T.Here are fears that it could increase sectarian tensions in the country, which is largely divided on religious lines, with the majority of the Muslim north and the majority largely Christian.

“The killers of a Christian woman in Sokoto must be arrested and punished!” tweeted Farooq Kperogiprofessor at Kennesaw State University.

“Unfortunately, this kind of murder of people without consequences in the name of vengeful ‘blasphemy’ has been going on for too long in the North. This has to stop!” He said. “The monsters in that video are easily identifiable. The Sokoto State government must immediately capture them and make an example of them. If that doesn’t happen, this kind of murderous barbarism will continue.”

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

Reverend Matthew Kukah of Sokoto Diocese said: “This has nothing to do with religion. Christians have lived peacefully with their Muslim neighbors here in Sokoto over the years … The law must run its course. “.

Nigerian atheist sentenced to 24 years for blasphemy

Kola Alapinni, a lawyer who has defended blasphemy accused 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 Muslim states in the north recognize it under Sharia law.

“The state government hides under a section of its Sharia laws that punishes inciting or offensive statements to the Prophet Muhammad. It must be tested in the Court of Appeals or even in the Supreme Court.”

“The main task of the state is the safety of lives and property. And here, it has failed. The severity of the Nigerian government in ending this threat will be measured by the state’s response in prosecuting those responsible for this murder,” added Alapinni. .

Season of the campaign

The incident comes during the election campaign for next year’s presidential election: the primaries are scheduled for the end of the month.

Opposition party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar drew criticism for deleting social media posts condemning the murder after Muslim supporters promised not to vote for him.

CNN contacted his spokesperson for comment.

There have been previous incidents of crowds attacking people for alleged blasphemy in Nigeria. One of the most notable cases it was during the 2002 Miss World pageant, which was supposed to be held in Nigeria but was moved after violent protests that killed 100 people.

Riots broke out for the ThisDay newspaper which published an article on the march that was deemed offensive to Muslims. The article supported the contest against Muslim criticism, saying that if the Prophet Muhammad were alive, he would consider marrying one of the contestants.

The newspaper offices in Kaduna were burned down and there were reports of churches and mosques on fire.