Northern Nigeria explodes

The Niger Delta, in Nigeria’s south, has long been beset by ethnic struggles over distribution of the region’s oil wealth. Now the north, where Muslim-Christian tensions have long simmered, is boiling overÔÇöostensibly over the cartoon controversy, but one wonders what local Nigerian Christians have to do with Danish cartoonists.

Muslim protesters burned churches in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno Feb. 18 in the country’s first violent protest over the Danish cartoons. Rioters killed 16 people and burned 11 churches as well as some 20 shops and several vehicles. The army has been sent in and a curfew imposed. Police have arrested 115 people in Borno state capital Maiduguri, where police fired teargas to disperse protesters, and 105 in Katsina.

The northeastern state located on the edge of Lake Chad, is predominantly Muslim with a growing Christian population, mostly of settlers from the south. Christians seem to have been singled out for attack in the protests. “Most of the dead were Christians beaten to death on the streets by the rioters,” one witness said. Most of the ransacked sjops were Chrisitan-owned, and witnesses said three children and a priest were among those killed.

“They entered our house some 20 minutes ago, broke our windows, smashed doors and threw our things all over the place,” an undergraduate student of the University of Maiduguri told Deutsche Press-Agentur. The student said the rioters were carrying weapons and demanded that their victims speak the local dialect. “If you cannot speak the dialect of the Maiduguri people, it becomes obvious that you are a settler and you are in trouble,” the student said. “We have been advised to take refuge in military barracks, if we can get there.”

Last week, assembly members in the northwestern state of Kano burned Danish flags in protest at the publication of the cartoons and said they would impose a boycott of Danish goods.

Nigeria, with a population of more than 130 million, is roughly divided between a predominantly Muslim north and a mainly Christian south. Thousands have died in Nigeria country since 2000 in religious violence fueled by the adoption of a strict Islamic legal code by several states in the north, a move protested by Christian residents. (Reuters, Reuters, AP, DPA, Feb. 18)

This is obviously taking on shades of “ethnic cleansing.” How much longer is the idiot left in the West going to cheer on this thuggery?

See our last post on the cartoon controversy, and other conflicts in West Africa.