More gruesome news from Africa’s God Wars. In Nigeria’s troubled north, the Islamist group Boko Haram has slaughtered dozens of schoolboys, attacking their dormitories late in the night. The militants shot, stabbed, and burned their way through the school, leaving an estimated 40 boys dead. Last week, Boko Haram decimated the town of Bama, killing 115 people, razing 1,500 homes, and destroying hundreds of automobiles. The week before that the group summarily executed residents of Izghe village.In the north of Nigeria, Boko Haram’s four-year-old war to transform the largely Christian country into an Islamic state has ravaged the local population, both Christian and Muslim. Security forces say the attacks are increasing in frequency, chaotic, and indiscriminate.Local leaders accuse the government of showing little interest in the conflict, which is occurring far from Nigeria’s prized oil fields. The Defense Ministry downplays the threat from militants while exaggerating its successes. The governor of Borno state told President Goodluck Jonathan that Boko Haram (which means “Western education is sinful”) is “better motivated and better armed” than the Nigerian army. The environment of fear is intense, as the AP reports:
“Everybody is living in fear,” local government chairman Maina Ularamu told the AP after Izghe village was attacked twice in a week this month – with militants first killing 106 and burning hundreds of thatched huts, then returning to kill another three people and setting ablaze what little remained of the settlement in neighboring Adamawa state.“There is no protection. We cannot predict where and when they are going to attack. People can’t sleep with their eyes closed,” Ularamu said.
Meanwhile, the conflict in the Central African Republic, which began in December 2012, has descended into full-on ethnic cleansing. Tit-for-tat violence between Muslims and Christians has sparked a vicious cycle of revenge killings divided along religious lines and fueled by hatred and fear. Today, Muslims are being hunted down by roaming Christian militias known as “anti-balakas,” who have been accused of mercilessly slaughtering CAR’s Muslim minority, including women and children.In Africa, a perfect storm of weak governance, poor infrastructure, entrenched poverty, and fierce ethno-nationalism ensures that the God Wars will continue to burn for some time to come.