News / Africa

Human Rights Watch: 800 Nigerians Killed in Electoral Violence

A victim of post election violence waits for treatment at St Gerrard's Catholic Hospital in Kaduna, Nigeria,  April 20, 2011
A victim of post election violence waits for treatment at St Gerrard's Catholic Hospital in Kaduna, Nigeria, April 20, 2011

Human Rights Watch says at least 800 people were killed in last month's electoral violence in Nigeria.

Three days of rioting began when supporters of opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari burned electoral commission offices and police stations following results that showed President Goodluck Jonathan winning the vote last month.

Human Rights Watch Nigeria researcher Eric Guttschuss says the violence then turned sectarian as northern; predominantly Muslim Buhari supporters began attacking southern, mostly Christian Jonathan supporters.

“Individuals from the south who were seen as supporting the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan were also attacked and houses and shops burned,” Guttschuss said.

Kaduna state was the most violent.  Guttschuss says Human Rights Watch believes at least 180 people were killed in the northern cities of Kaduna and Zaria.  Christians in southern parts of Kaduna state responded with their own attacks. “Members of Christian ethnic groups retaliated by also attacking Muslims and Hausa-Fulani, who are predominantly Muslim.  From Christian and Muslim leaders who Human Rights Watch interviewed, as well as witnesses, more than 500 people were killed in southern Kaduna state.  The majority of the victims in these areas were Muslim,” he said.

In both northern and southern Kaduna state, civilians at risk found shelter in army barracks and police stations.  But Guttschuss says those security forces also took part in human-rights abuses during the unrest.

“In responding to the violence, both the soldiers and the police were implicated in excessive use of force, including the extra-judicial killings of unarmed residents, and in some areas the systematic beating of people who were arrested during or following the violence,” stated Guttschuss.

President Jonathan has appointed a 22-member panel to determine what caused the electoral violence and how such unrest might be prevented in the future.

Guttschuss says Nigerians are rightly skeptical about the panel's impact, given how many previous commissions of inquiry have been ignored.

As for preventing such violence in the future, Guttschuss says Human Rights Watch has traced past incidents of communal violence to state- and local-government policies that discriminate against non-indigenous residents and exacerbate existing communal tensions. “State and local-government policies have effectively relegated millions of Nigerians to the status of second-class citizens in the states in which they reside,” he said.

While last month's nationwide elections were among the fairest in Nigeria's history, Human Rights Watch says they were also among the most violent.  The group says newly elected authorities should build on democratic gains by bringing to justice those who organized that violence.   

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid