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Nigerians search morgues as 100 killed in election riots

A LULL in fighting in northern Nigeria yesterday enabled relatives to search morgues for their loved ones.

A wave of riots sparked by disputed election results has killed at least 100 people in the mostly Muslim region.

Yesterday, former ruler Muhammadu Buhari said the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) had conspired with the electoral commission to falsify results enabling President Goodluck Jonathan to emerge as victor in the presidential race.

"Those who rigged the elections are responsible for the spontaneous action of the people in some parts of the country," Mr Buhari, speaking in the capital Abuja, said.

However, observers declared the polls in Africa's most populous nation the most credible in decades and a clear break with a long history of votes marred by ballot-rigging and fraud.

The government said the post-election violence, which has largely been brought under control by curfews and a heavy military presence, was "unprovoked and premeditated".

Those perceived to be supporters of the ruling party have been stabbed, hacked and shot to death by angry youths. Churches, mosques, homes and shops have been set ablaze.

Hundreds suffered gunshot and machete wounds, some of them children, in the worst of the violence on Monday and thousands were displaced. Morgues were said to be overflowing.

"My brother went to work on Monday morning. He hasn't come back since," said Austin John (23), who used a lull in a curfew to go from morgue to morgue searching for his brother. "I don't know what I will tell our mother."

Another morgue in Kaduna had 20 bodies; the charred remains of at least another 20 lay on the floor.

Africa's most populous nation is supposed to complete its cycle of elections with governorship votes in its 36 states on April 26, but diplomats question whether that will be now possible in large parts of the north.

Irish Independent