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Local newspapers bearing election headlines on sale in Kaduna, Nigeria, yesterday. AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

Riots break out in Nigeria over incumbent Goodluck Jonathan's likely election success

Opposition supporters in the north reportedly firing guns and setting fire to houses after early results suggest Jonathan will top the polls.

OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS IN northern Nigeria have set fire to homes carrying ruling party banners as sporadic riots broke out in the wake of the weekend’s election.

Gunfire has also been reported in several towns.

Preliminary results suggest that the Christian incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan, looks likely to take the presidency. Then-vice president Jonathan assumed office in May 2010 following the death of Muslim president Umaru Yar’Adua.

Nigeria is divided between the Christian-dominated south and Muslim north.

Despite the outbreak of riots in some areas, AllAfrica reports that the elections have been deemed free and fair. However, Nigeria’s two main opposition parties brought formal complaints to the electoral commission today over tallying in some areas.

Civil rights leader and author Shehu Sani said he was “holed up” in his room in Kaduna, Jonathan’s hometown, because youths were burning tyres in the streets and firing gunshots. “They are firing and killing people on the street,” he said.

The federal emergency management agency spokesperson Yushua Shuaib refused to give casualty figures on the basis that they may spark reprisals.

Election officials have said they will continue with plans to release further election results today, despite the trouble.

- Additional reporting from the AP