Religious Violence in Nigeria

Many in Nigeria see themselves as belonging to an ethnic/religious groups rather than as a citizen of Nigeria itself. The three areas most Nigerians align themselves to are the Yoruba (westerners), Igbo (easterners) and Hausa (northerners). These groups are split along religious grounds, and over the past few years, there has been much violence between some of these groups resulting in widespread killings whilst the Nigerian government appears to turn a blind eye, being either unable or unwilling to intervene to protect all of its citizens regardless of their background.

The killings reflect attempts by the Christian and Muslim groups to secure land and resources in Nigeria's 'Middle Belt'. In a recent attack in the Dogo Nahawa village outside the city of Jos, the epicentre for much of this violence, men, armed with machetes slaughtered indiscriminately, including women, children and even a four day old baby. This recent massacre was carried out by Muslims, and appears to be in retaliation for an attack on Muslims in January 2010 which left 300 dead with the victims bodies thrown into sewer pits and communal wells.

More recently, in March 2011, a family of four were killed in a dawn raid by Muslim gunman in Dabwak, another town outside Jos, following further episodes of religions violence including bombing incidents around Christmas 2010.

It is estimated that well over two thousand Nigerians have been killed in this religious violence since 2001, and despite recent deployment of troops after international condemnation, the very nature of the attacks makes managing the situation near impossible without the factions themselves agreeing to pursue alternative routes to resolve the land issue.

Many of the attacks are being carried out by Boko Haram, a fundamentalist Islamic group based in the north-east of Nigeria with suspected links to with Al Qaeda, who are committed to the establishment of strict Sharia law throughout Nigeria, regardless of the fact that 50% of the population is Muslim, 40% Christian and with 10% holding indigenous beliefs.

These videos explore some of the recent religious violence in Nigeria whilst the chart below details some recent incidents.


Religious Violence

Religious Violence

Religious Violence

Religious Violence


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Date Location Target Method Dead Injured Suspect
25th Dec 2011 Madalla, Jos, Gadaka and Damaturu Christians Suicide bomb/shootings 41 57 Boko Haram
5-6th Jan 2012 Mubi, Yola, Gombi and Maiduguri Christian churches & businesses Shootings 185 57 Boko Haram
8th April 2012 Kaduna Christian Church Suicide bomb 38 NK Boko Haram
3rd June 2012 Bauchi State Christian Church Suicide bomb 15 NK Boko Haram
17th June 2012 Kaduna, Wusasa and Sabon Gari Christian Churches Bomb 12 18 Boko Haram
7th Aug 2012 Otite, Kogi State Christian Church Shooting 19 NK Boko Haram
1st Oct 2012 Mubi, Adamawa State Christian Students Shooting 30 NK Boko Haram

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