from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – AT least 22 people have died and nine others injured during recurrent ethnic and religious clashes in northern Nigeria in recent days.
More than 1 300 were affected by the attacks documented by the International Office for Migration (IOM) between April 25 and May 1.
A majority of those affected have been forced to flee their homes as armed clashes and banditry lead to new waves of population displacement.
Most of the skirmishes have been reported in the Kaduna State.
IOM noted that Nigeria’s north-central and north-west zones are afflicted with a multidimensional crisis rooted in long-standing tensions between ethnic and religious groups.
The conflict involves attacks by criminal groups and banditry and/or hirabah (such as kidnapping and grand robbery along major highways).
“During the past years, the crisis has accelerated because of the intensification of attacks and has resulted in widespread displacement across the region,” the agency stated.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest country by population (estimated at over 206 million) and largest economy, has a reputation is one of the volatile on the continent.
The population is divided roughly in half between Muslims and Christians. The North is predominantly Muslim.
Consecutive governments, including the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, have battled to eradicate violent crimes.
– CAJ News