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Riots Break Out in Northern Nigeria As President Declared Winner

Published on Monday 18th April 2011

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has won a presidential election with results being reported in all 36 states, as riots broke out in the mainly Muslim north to protest the outcome.Election officials announced Monday that Mr. Jonathan received million 22,495,187 votes in Saturday's polls, nearly twice the number of his main challenger, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who garnered 12,214,853.Officials say Mr. Jonathan has met the requirements to avoid a run-off vote.  A candidates must win a simple majority and at least a quarter of the vote in 24 states.Earlier Monday, news of Mr. Jonathan's likely win sparked riots across Nigeria's northern region.Opposition supporters claimed the vote had been rigged and torched homes, burned tires and hurled rocks at police to protest the results.Many in the Muslim-majority north backed Mr. Buhari, a Muslim.  President Jonathan, a Christian, dominated the mostly Christian south.The Red Cross in Nigeria said field workers responding to the election violence bypassed bodies in order rush the injured to hospitals, particularly in Kaduna and Kano states.The agency's national disaster management chief, Umar Mairiga, told VOA Hausa Service the Red Cross could not cite casualty figures because the crisis was ongoing.  However, he said at least 45 people were taken to the hospital in Kano.A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Kaduna state, where angry rioters clashed with police and set homes on fire in the cities of Kaduna and Zaria.  In the capital of Kano state security forces fired shots into the air as stone-throwing youths took to the streets and chanted support for Mr. Buhari.Government and security officials met in the capital, Abuja on Monday to discuss the post-election riots.Observers have said Saturday's vote proceeded calmly, with few instances of cheating.President Jonathan has promised to improve the country's economy, health and education. He assumed the presidency last year following the death of his predecessor, Umaru Yar'Adua. Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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