Violence has erupted in a northern Nigerian town as churches and the traditional leader’s palace were set on fire. It broke out after soldiers were accused of shooting a protester, residents said.
The violence in the town of Biu, Kano State, followed a protest over the arrest of several teachers from an Islamic school on suspicion of belonging to an Islamist sect that has been blamed for scores of attacks, residents said.
“The soldiers then began shooting into the air to disperse the protesters outside the palace,” said Babagana Ali, one of the residents. “A bullet hit a woman in the head. She died instantly, but her two-year-old baby survived.”
He added that another woman was shot in the shoulder and was taken to hospital. According to Ali, the protesters numbered around 1,500.
Protesters further angered over the shooting set part of the Emir’s palace ablaze and burnt two nearby churches, he said. Part of a local government building was also burned.
One of those arrested, Abubakar Ibrahim Musa, said a total of seven teachers were detained by soldiers yesterday morning.
“We were told at the barracks that we were arrested because some of us were suspected of belonging to Boko Haram sect,” he said on phone.
“They said it was not appropriate to pick the suspects from among us at the school, but to bring all of us along and separate the suspects and release those of us not on the list.”
He said three of the teachers, including Musa, were later released and brought to the Emir’s palace to “douse tension,” while the other four remained in custody.