Monday, August 06, 2012

Is Nigeria's Conflict Religious Or Political?

As Violence Continues To Claim Lives In The Country's North, We Analyse The Factors Behind The Tensions.

For the last decade, Plateau state in central Nigeria has been a hotbed of ethnic tension between the Fulani, who are traditionally Muslim, and the Berom, who are Christian. The Fulani are seen as 'settlers' by the state's indigenous Berom.

Last month, more than 100 people were killed in violent clashes between the two communities.

Nigerian police blamed the most recent violence on tribal differences over land.

And on Tuesday, thousands of villagers were evacuated from their homes amid fears of more violence.

A military operation is underway in Plateau state to find the perpetrators. But the state's governor, Jonah David Jang, is not convinced that the military can bring peace.

He told Al Jazeera:

"The military service is becoming polluted. They are becoming part of the problem instead of solving the problem because some of them, as we've found out, do take sides .... The security forces generally have to sort out themselves to be able to maintain peace, law and order in Nigeria."

How dangerous is the religious and political divide in Nigeria? And what is the solution to this ongoing conflict?

"It is true that the Berom are predominantly non-Muslim, it doesn't make them predominantly Christian ... to make them a target group, they have to be considered as Christian and attacked for economic reasons. [That] is something that the reportage needs to clarify."
Michael Amoah, an Africa analyst

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