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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora