Thousands Flee Nigeria Election Riots

Many killed as Buhari supporters torch homes, churches
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2011 4:00 AM CDT
Nigerian Muslim youth brandish crude weapons during riots in Bauchi, capital of Bauchi state, nothern Nigeria.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Goodluck Jonathan's victory in Nigeria's presidential election has sparked deadly rioting across the nation's predominately Muslim north. The Nigerian Red Cross says many people have been killed and thousands more displaced by violence involving supporters of Jonathan's defeated rival Muhammadu Buhari, Reuters reports. Homes and churches have been torched and curfews have been declared in five states.

Buhari supporters allege electoral fraud, but international observers say the election was Nigeria's fairest in decades. "We must quickly move away from partisan battlegrounds," Jonathan—who comes from the country's south—said in his acceptance speech. "Nobody's political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian." Nigeria's military, which relinquished power 12 years ago, says it stands firmly behind the government and civilian rule.

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