Sectarian violence flares again in Northern Nigeria

By July 30, 2009

Nigeria (MNN) — Clashes with Taliban-style militants in Nigeria have claimed over 300 lives in the past
four days. Efforts are being made to  try to keep sectarian violence from
spreading in the country's northern states.

On July 26, Islamists attacked police stations in the northeastern state
of Bauchi. The unrest then spread to neighboring Yobe and
Borno states. Fighting has also been reported in Katsina and Kano states. Christians across the 12 sharia-governed states of northern Nigeria are holding their breath.

It's a tinderbox situation. Jacob
Kramer with Christian Reformed World Relief Committee says, "It raises the level
of tension between tribes, particularly between the two main religions in
Nigeria: Muslims and Christians."

Religious violence in Jos seven months ago hit the area where the CRWRC team
works, and there are concerns that it will hit again. "Extremism has always a tendency
to seed itself, and then violence asks for counter violence," says Kramer. "That's what we've
seen around Jos where the CRWRC is quite active, and a number of its sister

The agencies of the Christian Reformed Church in North America have had
a presence in Nigeria since the 1920s. CRWRC currently has about a half-dozen
staff people located in Jos as well as dozens of other CRC agency staff spread
throughout the country. They partner with many churches and other Christian
development organizations.

violence is the deadliest since last fall, when more than 300 people were
killed in Jos in clashes between Muslims and Christians.

2001, more than 1200 people have died in sectarian clashes. It's unknown how quickly the government can
put a stop to the Boko Haram's pro-sharia activities.  

to Open Doors USA, Boko Haram means "western education is sin" in English. Previously
the group has allegedly called the government of Nigeria "unislamic" and said
that it needed to be overthrown. The group apparently also called for the
abolishment of all so-called western education. They are also propagating the
establishment of sharia law in all 36 states of Nigeria.

that ministry will continue to move forward. Kramer says, "It is our prayer that the Spirit will work both in Christians and
in the Muslim people to go stop the violence and that God may be

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