The crisis in Nigeria is getting worse as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee Boko Haram, now that it is “hitting its stride.” The WSJ:
Local authorities said Tuesday that in a fresh exodus from violence, hundreds of people continued to flee Gwoza, a town of about 50,000 near Nigeria’s remote border with Cameroon that suspected Boko Haram fighters overran last Wednesday. Boko Haram has made the surrounding Borno state the epicenter of its insurrection against Nigerian soldiers, Christians and—increasingly—civilians who stand in its way. […]Manzo Ezekiel, a spokesman for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, estimated that 3 million Nigerians are facing “serious humanitarian challenges” because a breadwinner has been killed in the turmoil or they are too scared to plant the crops they will need to survive through the dry season.
One of Boko Haram’ s core goals is to drive Christians out of the mostly Islamic north. At the same time, it is fighting to wrest control of the region away from traditional northern power brokers: hereditary sultans whose power dates from pre-British times, heads of Sufi brotherhoods, and various military and political figures. Neither Nigeria’s government nor the Muslim leaders in the north have been able to stop the terror group’s march toward these two objectives. The army is both brutal and ineffective. The government’s economic development plans have been hobbled by corruption, and its local administration in large areas is increasingly paralyzed by fear.However, to the extent that ethnic and religious cleansing deepens Nigeria’s divides, the stability of the whole country is affected. Generally speaking, the south is wealthier than the Muslim north, both because the oil is there and because southern Nigeria has embraced globalization more wholeheartedly. Soon, the Christians in the south may start to fight back.