The conflict in Nigeria between the government and Islamic terrorists has claimed its latest victims, with at least 10 people dead and five wounded. The growing problem of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria drew brief, worldwide attention when dozens were killed and at least 100 were injured in a series of Christmas Day attacks last year. The two most recent assaults once again targeted Christians, and raise questions about the ability of the government to successfully combat Islamist terrorism.
According to a report from AGI (“Nigerian Christian community attacked, at least 10 victims”), the latest violence took the form of two assaults on March 15 against Christians in the north-central state of Kaduna, by a large, well-armed group: “The commando unit which carried out the attacks comprised around twenty men who fired their automatic weapons in Dayi and Kauna, in the Chikun area.” Their victims included a minister and a politician.
The most recent massacre highlights the nature of the ongoing crisis in Nigeria. The West African country is almost evenly divided between adherents of Islam and Christianity. Several regions of the country have a mixed population, but the population of the northern states is overwhelming Muslim, while the southern states are predominantly Christian. The population of Kaduna is divided between a majority of Muslims in the northern side and a majority of Christians in the southern side; when the state parliament voted to impose a “limited form” of Sharia law in 2000, the action was met by riots and President Olusegun Obasanjo denounced the imposition of Sharia as unconstitutional.
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