Nigeria may be headed to its second civil war since independence. Seven years after independence from Britain in 1960, a nearly three-year war partly caused by religious tensions claimed one million lives.
Ethnic and cultural differences, just as now, were an important factor in the Biafran War. And it was, just as now, largely Muslim northeastern Hausas against southerners.
The Igbo people of the southwest claimed they suffered most of the deaths, which largely resulted from starvation.
Apologists for the fighting of recent years have tried to minimize the role of religion. This week several hundred deaths in separate attacks in central and northeast Nigeria are being blamed on the Islamic fanatic group called Boko Haram.
It would be foolish to assume Christians were not fighting back. Boko Haram had not hesitated to claim responsibility for earlier bombings and the kidnapping of several hundred schoolgirls.
So far they haven’t said they were responsible for bombings in the “Tin City” of Jos in the country’s middle belt that divides Christian from Muslim areas. It is close to tin mines, largely unregulated like most things in Nigeria. The hilly city of nearly 1 million is about as cosmopolitan as any in the country with the altitude of 4,200 feet making the climate pleasant for an Equatorial region. Some call it the nation’s most beautiful city.
The OsunDefender of Nigeria said the latest massacres moved Nigeria up to the very pinnacle of the worst governments in the world.
There were fresh massacres Wednesday.
An estimated 1,300 people have died this year as a result of bombings and other killings blamed on Boko Haram. The group, which was created by a Muslim self-proclaimed prophet named Maitatsine. He died in police custody in 1980.
A follower, Musa Makaniki, killed hundreds if not more, in a revolt in the Cameroon border town of Yola. He told his followers they were bullet proof. He died with them when police attacked.
There has always been something different about Boko Haram, although they claim to be following Muslim law.
Today’s terrorists are well-armed, allegedly by al-Qaida, and the Nigerian Army has been no match for them.
US, British and French soldiers were called in to help suppress the group. The US, in particular, has been hesitant to rush forces in because of the brutal reputation of the country’s army.
There also are questions about the military’s motivation.
US Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh III told Congress: "We're now looking at a military force that is, quite frankly, becoming afraid to even engage. The United States doesn't have the capacity, the capability to go rescue every kidnapped person around the world."
Amnesty International reported the military was warned four hours before the girls were kidnapped but did nothing. Several villages armed themselves and drove off Boko Haram fighters.
New York Times
Wikipedia Biafran War