Many dead in Nigerian election protests

Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:28pm GMT

By Joe Brock

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) - Rioting erupted across Nigeria's largely Muslim north on Monday and the Red Cross said many people were killed as youths torched churches and homes in anger at President Goodluck Jonathan's election victory.

The vote count showed Jonathan, from the southern oil-producing Niger Delta, had beaten Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler from the north, in the first round.

Observers have called the poll the fairest in decades in Africa's most populous nation but Buhari's supporters accuse the ruling party of rigging and his Congress for Progressive Change Party rejected results announced so far.

Those results show how politically polarised the country is, with Buhari sweeping the north and Jonathan winning the largely Christian south.

The Nigerian Red Cross said churches, mosques and homes had been burned in rioting across the north.

"A lot of people have been killed but early reports are still coming in," Red Cross official Umar Mairiga told Reuters.

Authorities in the northern state of Kaduna imposed a 24-hour curfew after protesters set fire to the residence of Vice President Namadi Sambo in the town of Zaria and forced their way into the central prison, releasing inmates.

The body of a small boy shot in the chest by a stray bullet was brought to a police station, a witness said.   Continued...

<p>Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan casts his ballot in his home village of Otuoke, Bayelsa state April 16, 2011. Nigerians voted in masses on Saturday in what they hope will be their first credible presidential election for decades and could set an example across Africa. REUTERS/Joseph Penney</p>
Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.