Nigeria

More than 200 dead in post-poll violence, says rights group

Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde
2 min

More than 200 people have died in post-election violence in Nigeria, according to a local rights group. Tens of thousands of other have been forced to leave their homes to escape the unrest, mainly in the north.

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The figure comes from the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress. The government has refused to give its estimate of the death toll.

The Red Cross says it has treated 410 people injured in the riots. Some victims have described being beaten with clubs and hacked with machetes.

Another 39,700 people have fled the violence so far, the Red Cross estimates.

The Civil Rights Congress told news agency AFP that more than 1,000 people have been arrested in Kaduna city, which is under 24-hour curfew.

A police official says “over 400 suspects” are being held for “acts of mischief, criminality and homicide”.

Witnesses described seeing buildings looted and cars set alight. The homes of members of President Goodluck Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party, electoral commission offices and police stations have been particularly targeted.

Jonathan was officially declared the winner of the presidential election on Monday, with 57 per cent of the vote. His closest rival, Muhammadu Buhari, alleges the vote was fraudulent.

“If you check the figures granted to us, you will find out it's virtually the same figures granted to us in 2003, which means the rigging was so programmed this time around in a hi-tech way,” Buhari claimed on Wednesday.

He maintains that he never encouraged his supporters to commit violence and has repeatedly called for calm.

Nigeria is due to follow the presidential election with a governorship vote on 26 April. The electoral commission is assessing the security situation and has not yet made a decision whether to postpone the poll, a spokesperson said.

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