Protests erupted in Nigeria’s north-western city of Sokoto on Saturday over the arrest of two people after a female student in northern Nigeria was killed by a mob who stoned, beat and set fire to her for allegedly posting a blasphemous statement against the Prophet Mohammed.
The girl, Deborah Yakubu, was surrounded by fellow students and attacked Thursday at Shehu Shagari college of education. She was stoned to death and her body burned by a mob of Muslim students of the college.
Africa’s most populous country is roughly divided between Muslims and Christians. Police said they made two arrests after the incident. A manhunt is underway for other suspects who appeared in footage of the murder shared on social media.
Following the arrests, Muslim youths on Saturday took to the streets of the city, lighting bonfires and demanding the release of the two suspects.
“It was more of a riot by a mob of young men and women who were demanding the release of the two people arrested over the killing of the Christian student,” said a Sokoto resident, Ibrahim Arkilla.
“The crowd which made bonfires on the streets were also demanding the police stop the manhunt for those identified to have taken part in the killing,” said Arkilla, who witnessed the protests.
Bube Ando, who lives nearby, said that a large number of protesters gathered chanting “Allahu Akbar.”
“Some among the security men deployed to protect the palace tried to ask the protesters to leave but they became unruly,” Ando told the Guardian.
Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has “strongly condemned” the murder of Samuel. “No person has the right to take the law in his or her own hands in this country. Violence has and never will solve any problem,” he said in a statement on Friday.