NIGERIA: New suspects sought for murder of Christian girl in Nigeria

With picture of Catholics protesting the killing of Christians in 2020 (© Aid to the Church in Need)
With picture of Catholics protesting the killing of Christians in 2020 (© Aid to the Church in Need)

Police announced today (18th May) that they are looking for more suspects in connection with the brutal killing of a young Christian woman in northern Nigeria – following a weekend of rioting in support of two men accused of her murder.

Police are seeking the men who claimed responsibility for the death of Deborah Emmanuel (aka Deborah Yakubu or Deborah Samuel) in graphic video footage released on social media.

Miss Emmanuel was stoned and then set on fire for allegedly having sent messages insulting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed to a WhatsApp group.

One man is seen showing a match box to the camera and says he used it to set her on fire, and there are also scenes of what appears to be Miss Emmanuel’s dead body being beaten with sticks.

Riots broke out last weekend after two students, Bilyaminu Aliyu and Aminu Hukunci, were arrested on suspicion of her murder.

The local diocese told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that rioters attacked Christian sites throughout state capital Sokoto.

A statement by Sokoto Diocese, a copy of which was sent to ACN, detailed the destruction caused by the mobs.

According to the diocese groups of young people, directed by adults, attacked the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral at Bello Way, shattering windows and vandalising a community bus in the grounds.

The statement went on: “St Kevin’s Catholic Church was also attacked and partly burnt; windows of the new hospital complex under construction, in the same premises, were shattered…

“The hoodlums also attacked the Bakhita Centre located along Aliyu Jodi Road and burnt down a bus within the premises.”

The Sultan of Sokoto’s Palace was also attacked by the mob.

An invitation to peacefully protest was circulated online on Saturday after the rioting had started that called for people to “save brethren in Islam that are battling the faith of Islam and upholding the respect of prophet of Allah S.A.W.”

Aliyu and Hukunci, the two men arrested in connection with Miss Emmanuel’s death, appeared before Sokoto Magistrates on Tuesday (16th May).

Represented by a 34-strong team of lawyers, they pleaded not guilty and were remanded in custody. Bail conditions are due to be set later today.