Increasing Sectarian Violence in Nigeria

Increasing Sectarian Violence in Nigeria

Increasing sectarian violence and heightened political instability in Nigeria

 

Nigeria’s ongoing battle with insurgent groups and continued government corruption threaten the stability and political integrity of Africa’s most populous state. Since 2011, Boko Haram—one of the largest Islamist militant groups in Africa—has increased terrorist attacks on religious and political groups, as well as on local police and military.

Despite efforts to combat the group, particularly in northern Nigeria where Boko Haram is attempting to create an independent Muslim state, the military ’s has failed to weaken its influence. The kidnapping of over two hundred schoolgirls in April 2014 drew international attention to the ongoing threat from Boko Haram and the government’s inability to contain it.

Furthermore, uneven distribution of oil revenues and high levels of corruption have caused a significant drop in public confidence ahead of Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election. Postelectoral violence in Nigeria has marred the past two presidential elections and is a continued concern as Boko Haram competes for political power among other groups.

Growing links between Boko Haram and other Islamist groups to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) could also further intensify regional security concerns. Since Nigeria is the largest African oil producer, its stability is vital to regional security and U.S. economic interests.

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