A female student in Nigeria was beaten to death over messages she sent over a messaging app.
The student attended a school in Sokoto, located in the country’s western state.
“There is a WhatsApp group being used by the students, and her Muslim colleague student posted an Islamic piece. She criticized the posting,” a witness who wished to remain anonymous told The Guardian.
“She composed an audio that contains blasphemous comments on the prophet of Islam and posted in the group. That is what triggered everything.”
Islam is the leading religion in Nigeria, accounting for more than half of its population. Christian beliefs make up around 45% of the total population, with Roman Catholicism being the main branch.
After the student was attacked, witnesses told the news publication that the Shehu Shagari College of Education’s school security and police tried to save her but were “overwhelmed” by the students.
The victim was later identified as Deborah Samuel.
Two suspects were arrested in connection with Samuel’s death.
“Police have fired teargas on the students … then began firing shots in the sky to disperse the students, but they resisted,” student Summayya Usman Inname, explained. “The police sacrificed the lady after the students began throwing sticks and stones at them, then the students used stones and sticks to beat the lady. After being beaten, she was set on fire.”
The senseless killing has sparked outrage on social media.
“If you are one of those that lynch thieves just take this moment to know that you and those sokoto students who killed their fellow student are the same,” human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu tweeted. “Hope you use this as a mirror into your despicable acts. No one has the right in anyway whatsoever to kill another. No one!”
Sokoto state’s Governor Aminu Tambuwal ordered the school’s closure and instructed the Ministry of Higher Education to investigate the incident.