A Muslim mob on Saturday burned a vigilante to death in the Nigerian capital after an argument with a cleric who rallied his supporters against the man, police said.
It was not immediately clear if the murder in Abuja’s Lugbe area was linked to blasphemy which has recently stoked religious tensions in Nigeria.
Police in the capital said in a statement that a 30-year-old vigilante, Ahmad Usman, “got into an argument with a Cleric (malam) whose name is yet unknown from the same area.”
It said “the heated argument degenerated into an outbreak of violence that led to the murder and setting ablaze of Ahmad Usman by the enraged mob mobilised by the clergy, numbering about 200.”
Police said order had been restored in the area.
Blasphemy is highly sensitive in Africa’s most populous nation, which is almost equally divided between the mostly Christian south and the mostly Muslim north. Intercommunal tensions often flare up.
Last month, a mob set homes and shops on fire in northern Bauchi state, following “a blasphemous message posted on social media by one Rhoda Jatau,” said local police spokesman Ahmed Mohammed Wakili.
The incident happened several days after Deborah Samuel, a Christian student in the northern city of Sokoto, was stoned to death and her body burnt by Muslim students after she posted on social media what they considered an insult to the Prophet.
Four days later, hundreds of Muslims demonstrated in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, lighting bonfires on the streets, calling for the death of a Christian woman for an allegedly blasphemous online post.
Blasphemy carries the death penalty under Sharia law which operates alongside common law in northern Nigeria. But in some cases the accused are killed by mobs without legal process.