Spotlight On Religious Divide In Nigeria

December 2, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Independent Online

Nigeria's religious faultline was in the spotlight on Tuesday after sectarian riots in the central city of Jos, nestled between the Muslim north and the Christian south, claimed hundreds of lives.

Human Rights Watch squarely blamed the government for the latest spurt of bloodletting in Africa's most populous nation and called for a probe "to find who sponsored and carried out the killings."

The clashes were triggered by a rumour on Friday that the majority-Muslim All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) had lost a local election to the mainly Christian Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), according to a police spokesperson.

"Nigeria is deeply divided along ethnic and religious lines. More than 12 000 people have died in religious or ethnic clashes since the end of military rule in 1999," the New York organisation said in a statement.