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Nigerian university closes after students mob killing

Graduating students at the University of Port Harcourt are pictured in 2010 (© 2009 AFP)

Officials have closed a Nigerian university following protests over the brutal killing of four students by a mob that accused them of stealing phones and laptops, a spokesman said Wednesday.

A gruesome video of the Friday attack near the city of Port Harcourt was posted on YouTube showing the students being stripped naked, beaten with sticks, doused with petrol and set ablaze with tyres around their necks.

“The University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) was closed down yesterday (Tuesday) until further notice following a security threat in the neighbouring host community,” Williams Wodi said.

“We did that to prevent a breach of the peace on the campus.”

The students were killed in the town of Aluu, just outside Port Harcourt, a southern oil hub.

On Tuesday, a group of people blocked a major road in the town to voice outrage over the student killings and university officials feared the unrest could spread, leading to UNIPORT’s closure.

At a special hearing on the mob killings, Nigerian Senate President David Mark said the mob violence had portrayed the country “in bad light before the international community”.

Police said they had arrested 13 people, including a local chief, in connection with the crimes.

Some reports have suggested the students were wrongly identified as thieves, but the circumstances of the attack remain unclear.

Signature : LAGOS (AFP)

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