Nigeria (MNN) — Ethnic conflicts that started in 2006 surged in Central Nigeria last week.
Last week a crowded mini-bus was attacked by militia soldiers, and nine people were killed. Because of the land disputes, hundreds of Nigerians have already fled central Nigeria for safety in nearby areas.
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee has workers in the area who report that the government and church are working together to stop the violence.
The CRWRC West Africa Team Leader Mary Crickmore says, "The core problem is that people retaliate disproportionately to a provocation, and the retaliation escalates — until it spirals into mobs of people who get out of control, burn, and kill."
The CRWRC has had work in the area for more than 80 years and has a history of working for peace. They, along with other organizations, helped in the Takum Peace Process in the mid-1990's. The CRC's Peter VanderMeulen says, "Nigeria is a country where violent conflicts have, are and may occur in the future, with serious consequences on the lives of the people there and on development efforts."
Crickmore says that while peace talks take time, it is worth it so that there can be lasting peace and dignity. "The current violence needs to be stopped before whole communities are destroyed as happened in Takum in 1997-98."