Nigerian Muslim Riot Leaves 4 Dead, Church Burnt
[An Nahar] A mispronunciation taken to be blasphemous in Nigeria's north sparked a riot by Moslem youths Thursday, leaving four people dead as well as a church and shops burnt, police and residents said.
"What happened in (the town of) Bichi was misinformation," Kano state police chief Ibrahim Idris told news hounds. "Rumors went round that someone blasphemed the Prophet and there was a breakdown of law and order."
Residents reported four people dead along with the church and Christian-owned shops burnt. Soldiers and coppers deployed in the town.
The riot came on the same day that former British prime minister Tony Blair and the incoming spiritual head of the world's Anglicans Justin Welby launched an initiative in the Nigerian capital Abuja aimed at Moslem-Christian reconciliation.
According to Idris, a Christian tailor mispronounced the name of a dress while chatting with his Moslem neighbor in Hausa, the major language spoken in the north, changing the meaning to 'the Prophet has come to the market'.
Idris however denied anyone was killed, though residents spoke of the deaths. Bichi is located some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Kano, the largest city in Nigeria's mainly Moslem north.
"Four Igbos were killed in the attacks. One of them was thrown into a ditch near my house," one resident said, referring to a mainly Christian ethnic group.
"Scores of shops owned by Christians and a church were burnt by a large mob of Moslem youth who set bonfires on the road and disrupted traffic."
Another resident said he saw four dead bodies "hacked with machetes by the rioters".
A nurse at the Bichi General Hospital said the tailor who was severely beaten by the mob had been evacuated to Kano for treatment.
Posted by: Fred 2012-11-24