ABUJA, NIGERIA (Worthy News)-- Christians in northern Nigeria were among those mourning Saturday, April 30, amid reports that hundreds of people were killed in sectarian violence triggered by opposition protests against President Goodluck Jonathan’s victory in recent elections.
Over 500 people were killed in Kaduna state, Shehu Sani, executive director of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress, said in published remarks. “We keep discovering more details of massacres that have been carried out in the hinterland.” Sani said.
The violence came after Jonathan, a southern Christian, beat northern rival Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election on April 16.
Mainly Muslim supporters of Buhari, a former military ruler in Africa’s top oil producer and candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, attacked churches, homes and police stations, sparking reprisal attacks by Christians.
Opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari said that vote was rigged. Nigerian President Jonathan said he would be forced to impose a state of emergency in two northern states, if they were not able to complete elections this week.
President Jonathan said declaring a state of emergency in Kaduna and Bauchi is an option of last resort, if there is not sufficient security to hold statewide elections there.
Voters in most states chose their governors earlier this week, but polls in Kaduna and Bauchi were delayed because of violence that followed the president's election.
President Jonathan was expected to be sworn-in on May 29.
A major rights group has expressed concern about the future.“We also ask the federal government to ensure that the security forces to take concerted and immediate action to halt the violence," said Andrew Johnston, Advocacy Director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
He said it was crucial "to protect vulnerable communities, and to enforce existing curfews.”