Nigeria Christian Teacher Killed by Muslim Student Mob

A Christian teacher was killed by an angry mob of Muslim students for allegedly desecrating the Koran in northern Nigeria – a region long plagued with intense Muslim-Christian violence.

Muslim students at Government Day secondary school in the northeastern state of Gombe killed Christian teacher Oluwatoyin Olusase who was supervising an Islamic Religious Knowledge exam on Wednesday, according to the Nigerian newspaper This Day.

The newspaper, which described the killing as "gruesome," said that she was beaten to death and then set on fire. Students also burned the teacher's car and three blocks of the school containing classes, the school clinic, administrative offices and the library.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is about evenly split between Muslim in the north and Christians in the south with minorities of both religions living where the other faith is dominant. Since democracy was restored in 1999, there have been at least 15,000 deaths due to religious, communal or political violence, according to BBC.

According to reports, Olusase had allegedly collected books from a student who she suspected would cheat and tossed the books outside the classroom. The pupil had wanted to come into the exam hall with his books. She was not aware, though, that among the books was a copy of the Koran.

Before she knew what was happening the students started to shout "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) and beat her to death.

According to Hajiya Hadiza Ali Gombe, the vice principal of the school, all efforts were made by the Muslim principal of the school, Mohammed Sadiq, to protect the Christian teacher. Sadiq was also beaten and injured by the students.

Following the incident, the government arrested at least 12 students involved in the killing, according to the Voice of America. An investigation of the event is underway with a five-person panel given two weeks to submit its findings.