Nigeria: Curfew declared in Sokoto after protests kill students | News

Deborah Samuel was beaten and burned by fellow students for allegedly blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad.

The governor of Nigeria’s Sokoto state has announced an immediate 24-hour curfew to quell protests demanding the release of suspects in the murder of school student Deborah Samuel.

Samuel was beaten and burned by fellow students on Thursday for allegedly blasphemous statements about the prophet Mohammed in a Whatsapp group.

Protests have erupted following the police arrest of two students and a search for other suspects, images of the gruesome murder of Shehu Shagari College of Education student, Samuel, circulating on social media.

The governor said in a statement on Saturday that the curfew will apply to the capital Sokoto.

“Everyone should, please, go home for the sake of peace,” said Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people in the city demonstrated against the arrest of the students after the murder, residents said.

At dawn, youths took to the streets, lit bonfires and demanded the release of the two detainees, despite police efforts to maintain order, residents said.

Some of the protesters besieged the palace of the Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the sultan of Sokoto and the highest-ranking Muslim spiritual figure in Nigeria who has condemned the murder and demands that those involved be given justice.

Map of Nigeria showing the state of Sokoto [Al Jazeera]

“It was more like a riot by a mob of young men and women demanding the release of the two people arrested for the murder of the Christian student,” Sokoto resident Ibrahim Arkilla told AFP.

“The mob… also demanded that the police stop the manhunt for those who participated in the murder,” said Arkilla, who witnessed the protests.

A large number of protesters besieged the Abubakar palace, resident Bube Ando, ​​who lives near the palace, said police first tried to ask the protesters to leave.

“Police officers and soldiers standing outside the palace threw tear gas canisters and fired into the air and managed to disperse the crowd,” he said, without giving details on whether anyone was injured.

The protesters retreated to the center where they tried to loot shops belonging to Christian residents, but were again dispersed by security patrols, said another resident, Faruk Danhili.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has strongly condemned the student’s murder.

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