Over 50 killed in post-election violence in Nigeria

Abuja: Close on the heels of incumbent Goodluck Jonathan emerging victorious in Presidential polls in Nigeria, more than 50 people have been killed and thousands displaced in post-election riots in the country`s Muslim- dominated north, witnesses said on Wednesday.

People protesting the victory of Jonathan burnt homes, churches and police stations. Anti-riot policemen and the military were deployed in the streets following rioting.

Riots broke out in the north after Jonathan, a Christian from the south was declared winner on Monday of a landmark vote that exposed regional tensions and led to the deadly rioting.

Jonathan secured 60.02 per cent of the vote and easily beat his northern rival, ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who had only 30 per cent.

More than 50 people have been killed with many wounded in rioting in states of Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe, Niger, Borno, Jigawa, and Nasarawa, eyewitnesses and hospital sources told PTI.

An estimated 25,000 have been displaced and some 375 wounded, according to the Red Cross.

24-hours curfew was imposed in Kaduna and Kano while limited restrictions of movement were enforced in the remaining states as Buhari`s supporters took to the street violently protesting the results of the elections.

"I saw up to 30 bodies on the ground as I was returning from the market. But now, we have been forced to stay indoors and supplies have run out. We cannot get anything to eat," Zainab Audu, a resident of Kaduna said.

"The rioters burnt mosques, churches and houses. They killed people and it was difficult to sleep in the night because every now and then people banged on our door asking us to run out to avoid being caught in any possible inferno that may result from house burning," she added.

Dead bodies were littered along the streets in areas hit by unrest.

A hospital source said on condition of anonymity that more than 20 bodies were dumped at Kaduna General Hospital.

In Kano and Bauchi, authorities have been reluctant to give exact death toll to avoid reprisals in the southern part of the country.

Despite the post-poll violence, observers have hailed the conduct of the vote as a major step forward for a nation with a history of violent and deeply flawed elections.

Jonathan called on political and religious leaders to condemn the violence sand said most of the rioters appeared to be "unemployed young people".

Buhari, whose party has rejected the results and filed a challenge to them also condemned the rioting in brief comments to the BBC`s Hausa-language service.

Jonathan came to power last year when his predecessor died in office following a lengthy illness.

He is the first president to come from the Southern minority group that has been agitating for resource control since petroleum exploration started in the early seventies.

Jonathan will be sworn-in on May 29 to serve a four-year term.