Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Update: Nigeria

It sounds like things got worse there, though the tide may have turned, if the president, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, is to be believed. Today, however,
A local reporter, Idris Abdullahi of the News Agency of Nigeria, said the town, Maiduguri, was essentially shut down Tuesday after clashes between the police and Islamists over the past two days. In a telephone interview, he said that the streets were deserted and that he had seen “100 bodies” of militants at the police headquarters; other reports spoke of as many as 260 dead there.

“The economy is paralyzed,” Mr. Abdullahi said. “Everything is closed down. There is no movement — only the military and police.” He said several churches had been burned by “hoodlums.”

That's from the NY Times. I was interested to see how Al Jazeera reported what was going on and prefer their coverage, actually. Their article puts what's happening into a much larger perspective. It ends with this helpful, painful summary:

Nigeria's 140 million people are nearly evenly divided between Christians, who predominate in the south, and primarily northern-based Muslims.

Islamic law was implemented in 12 northern states after Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999 following years of military rule.

More than 10,000 Nigerians have died in sectarian violence since then.

I'll keep you posted.

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