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Police guard the entrace to Nigeria's Wuse Market, after the market was closed due to rumours of a bomb. Tom Saater / Demotix

50 killed in central Nigerian post-election rioting

As Christian southerner Goodluck Jonathan accepts victory, supporters clash with those of Muslim challenger Muhammadu Buhari.

AT LEAST 50 people have been killed following riots in the central Nigerian city of Kaduma, as supporters of the Christian presidential victor Goodluck Jonathan and second-placed Muslim Muhammadu Buhari engaged in violent clashes.

Jonathan, from the country’s predominantly Christian south, has been declared the winner of Sunday’s presidential election in Africa’s largest democracy, winning 22 million votes and avoiding a run-off ballot, ahead of northerner Buhari who won 12 million.

Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper said the city had been littered with “burnt corpses with machete wounds”, while smoke had risen above the city as “burnt-out minibuses and cars littered the highways”.

The Nigerian Red Cross told the paper that at least 400 people had been injured, while thousands more had been displaced.

One corpse, a Reuters correspondent said, had been seen “necklaced” with a burning tyre. Churches, mosques, homes and shops had all been attacked in the crossfire between the two sides, the report elaborated.

The clashes coincided with Jonathan receiving his certificate of victory from the country’s electoral commission, formally naming him the winner of Sunday’s ballot.

The northern population, however, has alleged vote-rigging – a common accusation in the country – and is also incensed by the decision of the People’s Democratic Party, of which Jonathan is a member, to apparently snub a gentleman’s agreement that power be rotated among the country’s six main geographical regions.

While curfews now stand in many areas, authorities are now worried that the unrest will continue until next week, when elections will be held to elect governors in the federal nation’s 36 states.

“Nigeria has spoiled … there is no peace,” one worker in Kaduna told AP. “I don’t think any of us are safe.”