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150 killed in Nigerian election riots

Order is restored as Nigeria prepares for the important elections for state governors.
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Rioters in Nigeria's northern city of Kano where running battles broke out between protesters and soldiers on April 18, 2011 after President Goodluck Jonathan won reelection. (Seyllou Diallo/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigeria's elections and their aftermath continue to make headlines.

Are the elections a sign that Nigeria's democracy is getting stronger? Have the elections sparked off violence in northern Nigeria? Do the election results show the country is divided between the mostly Christian South and the largely Muslim North?

The answer is yes to all the above.

Here's a quick update:

International observers and Nigerians agree that these elections — despite being postponed, chaotic, marked by violence and charges of vote rigging — are an improvement over the country's previous polls.

The post-election violence — in which northern Nigerians protested the victory of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is a Christian from the South — appears to have been largely quelled in Kaduna city. Police and army are returning order to the streets.

More than 150 people were killed in the violence in Kaduna city and seven other cities, said Shehu Sani, executive director of the Civil Rights Congress, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The Red Cross says 48,000 people have now fled from the violence.

About 400 people have been arrested in Kaduna state in connection with the clashes, reports the BBC. Kaduna city, where streets were littered with burned corpses. Rioters also burned churches, police stations and homes in the two days of disturbances.

There are clashes in other parts of Kaduna state and more security forces have been deployed to those areas.

The runner-up in the presidential race, General Muhammadu Buhari, charged there were widespread irregularities in Saturday's election. Buhari alleged on Voice of America that his supporters in the south were not allowed to vote.

Buhari said his party would challenge the result through the courts and urged calm.

Goodluck Jonathan was declared winner of Saturday's presidential poll, with the electoral commission saying he received about 57% of the vote with 22.5 million votes to Buhari's 12.2 million votes.

Nigeria's elections are not over yet. After holding parliamentary elections two weeks ago and the presidential elections last week, the polls for state governors will be held next week.

Next Tuesday, April 26, is the date for the elections for state governors. The outcome could determine how effective Jonathan will be as president over the next four years.

Governors are key to presidential power in Nigeria, wielding significant power in their states. Jonathan has the best chance of implementing his programs if the governors come from his party.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/news/regions/africa/nigeria/150-killed-nigerian-election-riots

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