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After demonstrators came to the streets in Sokoto, Nigeria, demanding the release of two suspects in the death of a Christian student last week, a 24-hour curfew was imposed. Muslim students thrashed and burned Deborah Samuel on Thursday after accusing her of making "blasphemous" words about Islam in a WhatsApp group.
Muslims and Christians alike have decried her death across Nigeria. Demonstrators set fire to tires and police sprayed tear gas on Saturday. Some of the demonstrators surrounded the palace of Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and Nigeria's top spiritual leader.
The Sultan has condemned the murder at Shehu Shagari College of Education and asked that those responsible be brought to justice. "Please, in the interest of peace, return home," Sokoto Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said upon announcing the curfew.
Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, and the majority of its residents, both in the predominantly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south, are highly religious.
Religious tensions and fatal battles are prevalent, especially in the north, where some states have enacted stringent sharia laws, which include death sentences for blasphemy.
In Islam, blasphemy includes insulting or degrading aspects of the faith, as well as disputing any of its core beliefs. Nigeria's largest Christian religious group has requested that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
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