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Nigerian Christian Student Accused of Blasphemy Killed by Mob

Kano, Nigeria
Kano, Nigeria

Muslim students in northwest Nigerian city of Sokoto on Thursday stoned a Christian student to death and burned her corpse after accusing her of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad, police said.

Dozens of Muslim students of Shehu Shagari College of Education went on rampage after fellow student Deborah Samuel made a statement on social media that they considered offensive against the Prophet Muhammad, Sanusi Abubakar, a Sokoto police spokesperson said in a statement.

The "students forcefully removed the victim from the security room where she was hidden by the school authorities, killed her and burnt the building," Abubakar said.

He said the students "banded together with miscreants" and blocked the highway outside the school before police teams dispersed them.

Abubakar said two suspects had been arrested.

Sokoto is among a dozen northern states where the strict Islamic legal system or Sharia is in operation.

State information commissioner Isah Bajini Galadanci in a statement confirmed the "unfortunate incident … in which a student at the college lost her life."

A student who gave his name as Babangida, accused the murdered student of posting "the offensive remark on a students’ Whatsapp group which everyone saw."

"Muslim students in the school who were infuriated by her insult mobilized and beat her to death," he said.

His account was supported by three other students.

Footage from the rampage was shared on social media, and police said all suspects identified in the video would be arrested.

The state government has ordered the immediate closure of the school with a view to determining "the remote and immediate causes of the incident."

Blasphemy in Islam, especially against the prophet, attracts death penalty under Sharia, which operates alongside common law in the region.

Two Muslims were separately sentenced to death in 2015 and 2020 by Sharia courts for blasphemy against the prophet.

But the cases are still on appeal.

In many cases, the accused are killed by mobs without going through the legal process.

Last year, a mob in Darazo district in northeastern Bauchi state burned to death a man accused of insulting the prophet.

In 2016, a 74-year-old Christian trader, Bridget Agbahime was beaten to death by a Muslim mob outside her shop in Kano after accusing her of insulting the prophet.