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Deadliest cartoon riots kill 16 in Nigeria

Posted by By Tume Ahemba on 2006/02/20 | Views: 1437 |

Deadliest cartoon riots kill 16 in Nigeria


Deadly protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad spread in Africa, killing 16 people in Nigeria on Saturday a day after claiming 11 lives in Libya.




Deadly protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad spread in Africa, killing 16 people in Nigeria on Saturday a day after claiming 11 lives in Libya.


Many of those who died in northern Nigeria were Christians, killed after a Muslim protest over the cartoons turned violent and rioters torched churches, shops and vehicles, police and local officials said.


It was the bloodiest protest so far over satirical cartoons of the Prophet, first published in a Danish newspaper, that Muslims regard as blasphemous.


"They went on the rampage, burning shops and churches of the Christians. The protesters killed the others. Some were even killed in the churches," said Joseph Hayab, north-west secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).


The row over the cartoons also forced two ministers out of their jobs in Europe and the Middle East after 11 people died in the Libyan town of Benghazi in clashes on Friday between police and protesters who had tried to storm the Italian consulate.


Italian Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli, who had the cartoons made into a T-shirt which he wore on television, resigned after he was widely blamed for the violence in Libya.


In Tripoli, the General People's Congress fired Interior Minister Nasser al-Mabrouk Abdallah and police chiefs in Benghazi, saying "disproportionate force" had been used.


The Congress hailed the dead as "martyrs" and declared Sunday a day of mourning across Libya.


As thousands of Muslims rallied in central London to keep up the cycle of cartoon protests around the world, there was fresh bloodshed in Pakistan when four people were wounded in gunfire at a demonstration in the central Punjab region.


Protests in Pakistan this week have resulted in at least five deaths, and on Friday it became the latest country where Denmark has decided to temporarily close its embassy. Denmark urged any Danes in Pakistan to leave as soon as possible.


In Nigeria, whose 140 million people are divided about equally between Christians and Muslims, 15 people died in the northeastern state of Borno and one died in the north-central state of Katsina, police spokesman Haz Iwendi said.


He said 11 churches had been torched in Borno and the army had been called in to state capital Maiduguri to impose order.


"The Muslim group came out to protest and the security forces tried to ensure it was peaceful, but there were some hoodlums in the crowd and somehow the security forces shot one or two of them," said Hayab of CAN.


Thousands have been killed in Christian-Muslim clashes over the last five years in Nigeria. Twelve northern states, including Borno, introduced Islamic sharia law in 2000 which has contributed to the animosity between the two religions.


FURY ACROSS THE MUSLIM WORLD


The satirical cartoons were first published in a Danish newspaper last year, but last month newspapers in Europe and elsewhere republished them to assert freedom of expression, triggering protests across the Muslim world.


In a bid to stem the violence, Pakistan on Saturday banned protests in Islamabad. As the ban was introduced, the country's main Islamist alliance, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), said it would go ahead with a demonstration on Sunday.


"The rally will be held in Islamabad. It will be a peaceful rally," Shahid Shamsi, an MMA spokesman said.

The shooting in Pakistan on Saturday occurred as hundreds of protesters pelted police with stones and tried to block a road in the town of Chiniot. It was unclear whether police or protesters fired the shots.

Police detained 40 activists of the student wing of an Islamist group in the city of Multan as they staged a protest in defiance of a government ban on public rallies in Punjab.

Britain's Muslim Action Committee (MAC) which organised the London event said they expected 40,000 to rally peacefully in Trafalgar Square. A police spokeswoman said 10,000 were present. One placard read: "Free Speech = Cheap Insults."

Around 1,000 people protested in Copenhagen on Saturday against the cartoons.

On Friday, a Pakistani Muslim cleric and his followers offered rewards amounting to more than $1 million for anyone who killed the Danish cartoonists who drew the caricatures.

One of the cartoonists, asking for anonymity, said this has not been the first threat.

"This is not the first time we've been threatened, but of course I dislike it every time," the cartoonist told Reuters.

"I didn't think anyone outside the newspaper's readers would see the cartoon and now a billion people have. It's a surreal situation."

(Reporting from European, Asian and Middle Eastern bureaux)

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding