Abuja mob burns man to death over row with cleric

Nigerian police say a man who had a row with a Muslim cleric died in the capital, Abuja, after being set ablaze by a mob supporting the cleric.

Ahmad Usman, 30, was in a local vigilante group and police say about 200 people were mobilised against him.

Eyewitnesses said the row was over an alleged blasphemous remark, but the police have not confirmed this.

Last month, a Christian student was killed by Muslim students who accused her of blasphemy in the city of Sokoto.

The Abuja victim was described by police as “a member of the local vigilante around Tipper garage at Federal Housing Estate in Lugbe Area”.

Police found him at the scene with severe burns and took him to hospital, but he died of his injuries.

BBC Abuja reporter Chris Ewokor says there appears to be a rise in mob violence in Nigeria.

Two weeks ago, at least five people were killed in violent clashes between commercial motorbike operators and traders in a suburb of Abuja.

A few days earlier, mob violence led to the death of a 38-year-old sound engineer in the country’s commercial hub, Lagos.

Human rights campaigners say the frequent cases of mob violence are fuelled by deep-rooted impunity and a lack of confidence in the criminal justice system.

A 24-hour curfew has been declared in Sokoto, Nigeria, after protesters took to the streets demanding the release of two suspects in the murder of a Christian student last week.

Deborah Samuel was beaten and burned by Muslim students who accused her of posting “blasphemous” statements about Islam in a WhatsApp group on Thursday.

Her death has been widely condemned by Muslims and Christians across Nigeria and demonstrators burned tyres and the police fired teargas.

Some of the protesters besieged the palace of Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and the highest spiritual figure among Muslims in Nigeria.

The Sultan has condemned the killing at Shehu Shagari College of Education and demanded those involved face justice.

Announcing the curfew, Sokoto Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal urged the protesters: “Please, in the interest of peace go back home.”

Nigeria is Africa’s most-populous country and most people in its mainly Muslim north and the largely Christian south are deeply religious. -BBC

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