December 26, 2011
Reuters (India)

Boko Haram Bombings Strike at Nigeria's Faultlines

Christmas Day bomb attacks against churches in Nigeria by Islamist militant group Boko Haram targeted the country's religious and ethnic faultlines . . .

The Christmas church bombings included one in the central city of Jos, a religious and ethnic flashpoint region lying in the heart of the divide between the mercantile, largely Muslim pastoralist peoples of the north and the traditionally farming, largely Christian peoples of the south.

Nigeria's 160 million people are split roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims, who for the most part live side by side in peace, but their cohabitation in the "Middle Belt" has sometimes been a source of tensions over land and influence. . . .

The latest attacks will fuel the fears of Nigerian and Western security experts who increasingly link Boko Haram to a wider violent militant Islamic jihadist threat from North Africa across the Sahara. . . .

But experts warn that tackling Boko Haram as a security problem alone will not address the underlying social, economic and political problems that underpin the group and its domestic support, and that a heavy-handed police and army response could simply exacerbate the threat being incubated in Nigeria's north. . . .


"Liberia, Libya, the U.S., and Nigeria's Oil," The Wisdom Fund, July 25, 2003

Anne Penketh, "Nigerian Christians Accused of 'Genocide'," Independent, May 7, 2004

"Nigeria Violence: Muslim Herders vs Christian Farmers," The Wisdom Fund, March 8, 2010

"The New Scramble For Africa: The Crown Jewels," The Wisdom Fund, October 20, 2011

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