Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Sunday, November 30, 2008

More conflict in Plateau state of Nigeria

It's easiest for journalists to describe these conflicts as inter-religious conflicts, but there's much more to them. As hinted at the end of this Boston Globe article, there are ethnic and cultural cleavages as well. In addition, we have to consider desertification (global warming?) and the growing population to understand why pastoralists from the north are coming into conflict with subsistence farmers.

How well could your students identify all the cleavages involved if they examined several accounts of this recurring violence?

Death tolls rises in Nigerian sectarian violence

"Feuding Muslim and Christian mobs burned homes, churches and mosques Saturday as the death toll rose to 35 in Nigeria's worst sectarian violence in years...

"The Plateau State government said on state radio that an around-the-clock curfew had been ordered for the hardest-hit parts of Jos...

"The fighting began as clashes between supporters of the region's two main political parties following the first local election in the town of Jos in more than a decade. But the violence expanded along ethnic and religious fault lines, with Hausa Muslim northerners doing battle with members of Christian ethnic groups...

"Jos has a long history of community violence that has made it difficult to organize voting...

"Violence has flared in the past in Plateau State, where Muslim Hausa herdsmen mix daily with Christian farmers, causing friction over land rights and religion. Those divides mirror troubles in Nigerian society at large, and crises in what is known as Nigeria's middle belt can spread to cities across both the Muslim north and Christian south..."

From ThisDay (Lagos)

Dozens Killed in Jos LG Election Riot

"Dozens of people were feared dead yesterday owing to skirmishes in the Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State over the result of the council polls widely believed to have been won by the candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Timothy Gyang Buba...

"Eyewitnesses said supporters of the All Nigerian People's Party (ANPP) allegedly became violent following speculations that their candidate, whom they said was leading the PDP candidate, was about to be 'declared the loser.'..."

From the BBC

Poll riots erupt in Nigerian city

"At least 20 people, including one policeman, have been killed in riots in the Nigerian city of Jos after local elections, aid workers say...

"In 2001, more than 1,000 people died in religious clashes in the city...

"The protests started overnight with singing and burning of tyres on the roads by groups of youths over reports of election rigging...

"Local journalist Senan Murray told the BBC's Hausa Service that Muslims in the city tend to support the ANPP and Christians the PDP...

"Correspondents say communal violence in Nigeria is complex, but it often boils down to competition for resources such as land between those that see themselves as the true 'indigenes' of an area, and those that are considered to be more recent 'settlers'.

"In Plateau State, Christians are regarded as the indigenes and Hausa-speaking Muslims the settlers."

From the New York Times

Death Toll in Nigeria Clashes Rises to Around 400

"Residents delivered more bodies to the main mosque in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Sunday, bringing the death toll from two days of clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs to around 400 people...

"The overall toll was expected to be higher..

"Nigeria's 140 million people are roughly equally split between Muslims and Christians and the two communities generally live peacefully side by side.

"But ethnic and religious tensions in the country's central "Middle Belt" have bubbled for years, rooted in resentment from indigenous minority groups, mostly Christian or animist, towards migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north...

"Hundreds were killed in ethnic-religious fighting in Jos, the capital of Plateau state, in 2001. Hundreds more died in 2004 in clashes in Yelwa..."

From Vanguard (Lagos)

Jos Riot Escalates

"THE violence in Jos, Plateau State capital, continued, yesterday, with reprisal attacks leading to more deaths and loss of property, forcing the state government to extend the curfew in some areas to 24 hours.

"This happened as Governor Jonah Jang was said to have been summoned to Abuja by President Umar Yar'Adua on the crisis while an Assistant Inspector-General was reportedly sent to the state to oversee police efforts to combat the crisis..."

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At 8:28 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

From Vanguard (Lagos)

Police Roll Out Tanks in Kano

"THE Police rolled out tanks in Kano city yesterday in readiness to quell possible reprisal that could arise from the Jos riots.

"Watchers of events in the ancient city said the apparent show of might by the police became necessary because of the growing apprehension and tension resulting directly from the Jos mayhem...

"Meanwhile, relief materials from the Federal and Plateau State Governments are being distributed to victims of the mayhem in hospitals and other camps to alleviate their hardship..."


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