Rebels of a group known as the “Nigerian Taliban” expanded attacks against security forces to three northern states July 27, leaving at least 80 people dead in two days of clashes. The attacks began a day earlier in Bauchi state, apparently in retliation for the arrest of local leaders; they have now spread to Yobe, Kano and Borno states. The group is formally known as Boko Haram, which is said to translate as “Western education prohibited,” and wants to impose sharia on all of Nigeria.
The four northern states are among the 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states that imposed sharia in 2000—a decision that has alienated the region’s sizeable Christian minorities and sparked bouts of sectarian violence that killed thousands. (Reuters, July 27; BBC News, AlJazeera, July 26)