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Appalling 'necklacing' murders in Nigeria recorded with cell phone

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 29th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

College buddies Ugonna Obuzor, Chiadika Biringa, Lloyd Toku, and Tekena Elkanah left their Nigerian university campus for a nearby village to collect a debt. Too late they found out it was a trap, and were subjected to the barbaric practice of "necklacing" - where a rubber tire filled with gasoline is affixed to the victim's neck, set alight, the victims dying an agonizing death.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chased through the streets by stick and stone-wielding vigilantes, the four students were stripped naked and beaten until they were almost unconscious. Dragged through mud, concrete slabs were dropped on their heads and car tires filled with gasoline wrapped around their necks. A match was struck .

Filmed on a mobile phone, the horrific scene was later uploaded to YouTube for the world to see. The incident has sent shockwaves throughout Nigeria and the wider world, a horrifying example of mob justice.

Experts say so-called "jungle justice" is increasing in many of Nigeria's poorer, more isolated communities where the Nigerian authorities have failed to crack down on crime.

Obuzor, Biringa, Toku, and Elkanah were roommates at the University of Port Harcourt, in Chuba, Nigeria. Biringa's mother says that Obuzor had asked his friends to accompany him to the nearby village of Aluu because somebody there owed him money.

What happened is unclear, but it has been claimed that Obuzor's debtor spread the word that the men were there to steal laptops and mobile phones and they were soon set upon.

"I want the world to know how our security failed us. I want the world to know that my son and his three friends are innocent of what they said they did," his mother told CNN.

According to reports, the village had been shaken by a series of recent armed robberies and villagers were on high alert.

Mrs. Biringa said the three friends were entirely innocent and dreamed of launching a music career. They had already recorded a song together called, "Ain't No Love in the City."

She and her husband, Steven, an oil executive at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, says that he watched the video because he wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen his son's killing with his own eyes.

"I want them to know from beginning to end the barbaric nature with which they chose hunt them down," he said. "Even your worse enemy should not be treated in such form in the 21st century that people are still behaving and killing human beings as if they were rats."

In the Eighties and Nineties, necklacing was a common sentence imposed by "people's courts" on collaborators with the apartheid regime and criminals in South Africa. It is still used in certain, more lawless, parts of Africa. Incidents have been reported more recently in Haiti, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and India.

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