Riots spread across northern Nigeria today in the wake of a contested presidential election. On Saturday, Nigerians cast their votes for one of two candidates: incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south, and challenger Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north. Jonathan won with 57 percent of the vote, and today, Buhari's supporters took to the streets in protest, accusing Jonathan's party of manipulating the results.
Protesters set fire to churches, mosques, and homes in a number of cities. In Zaria, the crowds set fire to the home of Namadi Sambo, Nigeria's vice president; they also forced their way into a prison and turned the inmates loose. A Red Cross official guesses that more than 270 people have been wounded and another 15,000 displaced. Deaths have also been reported, although it's not yet clear how many. A doctor at a hospital in Kano told The Christian Science Monitor that he'd seen "about 10 people" dead by Monday afternoon.
Ironically, Saturday's election was described as Nigeria's "fairest in decades," according to Reuters. But clearly the country's internal divisions--what the Monitor calls "a deepening divide between the north and the south"--haven't disappeared overnight.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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