Death toll in Nigeria rises to 93
Bodies littered the streets of the southern Nigerian city of Onitsha as the death toll from days of violence rose to at least 93.Updated: Feb 23, 2006 12:10 IST
Bodies littered the streets of the southern Nigerian city of Onitsha as the death toll from days of Christian-Muslim violence across the volatile West African nation rose to at least 93.
The sectarian violence was sparked by deadly weekend protests against cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. It is the worst to hit Nigeria since 2004, when Muslim-Christian skirmishes in northern Nigeria's Plateau and Kano states killed more than 700 people.
"I've counted more than 20 people killed today," Onitsha resident Isotonu Achor said yesterday after gangs of rioters armed with machetes and shotguns poured through the mainly Christian city.
"Major streets are littered with bodies of people killed today, most of them northerners," Achor said. Other witnesses also said they saw at least 20 dead. Thirty people were killed in Onitsha a day earlier.
In Onitsha, residents said soldiers opened fire on a mob of ethnic Igbo Christians that tried to enter the military barracks after reports ethnic Hausa Muslims sheltering in the barracks had attacked a nearby primary school, killing a number of children.
The deaths brought to at least 93 the number of people killed in Nigeria since Saturday in the northern city of Maiduguri, where Muslim protests against cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad turned violent, razing 30 churches and claiming the lives of 18 people, mostly Christians.
First Published: Feb 23, 2006 08:52 IST