Nigeria: May 28, 2004




In central Nigeria, raids by Christian and Moslem tribes against each other continues, with several dozen dead and wounded each week. Similar violence is taking place in the southern delta region, as tribe based gangs battle police and each other over the illegal (by tapping pipelines) oil trade. In the north, the Moslem majority has become increasingly intolerant and violent with the Christian minority. State governments in the north are still trying to impose Sharia (Islamic) law on everyone. This contradicts the federal constitution, and remains unresolved. These ethnic and religious disputes were largely suppressed during decades of military rule. But in five years of democratic rule, the ethnic and religious violence has left at least 12,000 dead, and many more wounded and homeless. The religious issue, in particular, threatens to split the country.

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