Eight Christians have died in Nigeria in a arson attack on a home, after a mob outraged by reports that Islam’s holy prophet had been insulted, set fire to a house belonging to a Christian.
Trouble started when students at the Abdu Gusau Polytechnic accused a fellow student of making a blasphemous statement against the prophet Muhammed. The mob beat the student who was a Christian who had converted from a Muslim background, and left him for dead.
When the mob learned that another student, known as Tajudeen, had taken the victim to hospital, they sought the pair. An Open Doors contacts reported, “The mob noticed Tajudeen’s car and set it on fire. They also went to his house and set it on fire. Eight people were inside at the time and they all died. It is our understanding that all were Christians.”
A witness told local media that another three people in the crowd may have died when police opened fire on them.
In Nigeria, it is against the law to insult a religion, and doing so can lead to imprisonment. This has encouraged some vigilante groups and individuals to use blasphemy accusations as a means of driving violence. Christians and other minority groups are particularly at risk of false blasphemy accusations – in recent months, there have been several deadly riots as a result.
At the end of May, a 24-year-old Christian man was killed after allegedly posting a blasphemous statement about Muhammad on social media. Three other people, including a police officer, lost their lives as a result of violence that followed the killing. A church and a house were also burnt down and 25 shops were looted.
Sources: Open Doors; NAN; World Watch Monitor
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