Islamist insurgency in Nigeria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Nigerian Sharia conflict)
Jump to: navigation, search
Islamist insurgency in Nigeria
Map of Nigeria
Date 1999–present
Location Northern Nigeria
Status Ongoing
  • Introduction of sharia law in 9 states, partially in 3 states
  • Religious riots (2000–present)
  • Armed Islamist rebellion (2009–present)
Nigeria Nigeria Flag of Jihad.svg Boko Haram
Commanders and leaders
Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan
Nigeria Ibrahim Geidam
Nigeria Ali Modu Sheriff
Nigeria Isa Yuguda
Flag of Jihad.svg Mohammed Yusuf 
Flag of Jihad.svg Abubakar Shekau
Flag of Jihad.svg Mallam Sanni Umaru[1]
Abu Usmatul al-Ansari
Abu Jafa’ar
Casualties and losses
15,000+ killed[2][3][4]

Thousands of civilians displaced[5]

The Islamist insurgency in Nigeria, also known as the Sharia Conflict in Nigeria,[6] began in 1999 with the establishment of sharia law in several Muslim-majority states in Nothern Nigeria, despite the secular Constitution of Nigeria and the disagreeing Christian minority. From 2000 onwards, occasional riots between Christians and Muslims have resulted in thousands of deaths. Since 2009, when the Islamist group Boko Haram started an armed rebellion against the secular government of Nigeria, the conflict has spiraled into its most violent phase, resulting in 3,600 deaths within less than three years.[2][3][4]

According to a Nigerian study on demographics and religion, Muslims make up 50.5% of the population. Muslims mainly live in the North of the country; the majority of the Nigerian Muslims are Sunnis. Christians are the second-largest religious group and make up 48.2% of the population. They predominate in the centre and in the South of the country, whereas adherents of other religions and atheism make up 1.4%.[7]

As Muslims narrowly form the majority of the population, many of them demand the introduction of Sharia – the Islamic law – as the main source of legislation. Twelve Northern states have introduced sharia as a basis of the executive and judicial branches of government in the years 1999 and 2000.


In 1991, the German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke attempted a crusade in Kano, causing a religious riot leading to the deaths of about a dozen people.[8][9]

The events of Abuja in 2000 and Jos in 2001 were riots between Christians and Muslims in Jos, Nigeria about the appointment of a Muslim politician, Alhaji Muktar Mohammed, as local coordinator of the federal programme to fight poverty.[10]

In 2002, the Nigerian journalist Isioma Daniel wrote an article that led to the demonstrations and violence that caused the deaths of over 200 in Kaduna,[11][12][13] as well as a fatwa placed on her life.[14] The 2002 Miss World contest being moved from Abuja to London as a result. The rest of the 2000s decade would see inter-religious violence continue in Jos and Kaduna.

Establishment of Sharia[edit]

Status of sharia in Nigeria (2008):[15]
  Sharia applies in full, including criminal law
  Sharia applies only in personal status issues
  No sharia

In the North of the country are numerous Muslim groups, which want to introduce shari'ah in the whole country. In the states of the North these demands have been executed in 1999 and 2001.

In the following 9 states the Sharia has full validity:

In the following states the sharia is valid for areas with a mainly Muslim population:


2004 Yelwa massacre[edit]

2008 riots[edit]

Boko Haram terror campaign[edit]

The group conducted its operations more or less peacefully during the first seven years of its existence.[16] That changed in 2009 when the Nigerian government launched an investigation into the group's activities following reports that its members were arming themselves.[17] Prior to that the government reportedly repeatedly ignored warnings about the increasingly militant character of the organisation, including that of a military officer.[17]

When the government came into action, several members of the group were arrested in Bauchi, sparking deadly clashes with Nigerian security forces which led to the deaths of an estimated 700 people. During the fighting with the security forces Boko Haram fighters reportedly "used fuel-laden motorcycles" and "bows with poison arrows" to attack a police station.[18] The group's founder and then leader Mohammed Yusuf was also killed during this time while still in police custody.[19][20][21] After Yusuf's killing, a new leader emerged whose identity was not known at the time.[22]

After the killing of M. Yusuf, the group carried out its first terrorist attack in Borno in January 2010. It resulted in the killing of four people.[23] Since then, the violence has only escalated in terms of both frequency and intensity.

In January 2012, Abubakar Shekau, a former deputy to Yusuf, appeared in a video posted on YouTube. According to Reuters, Shekau took control of the group after Yusuf's death in 2009.[24] Authorities had previously believed that Shekau died during the violence in 2009.[25]

By early 2012, the group was responsible for over 900 deaths.[26]

2010 riots[edit]

In 2010, more than 500, mostly Christian people, were killed by religious violence in Jos.[4]

2013 Government offensive[edit]

In May 2013, Nigerian governmental forces launched an offensive in the Borno region in an attempt to dislodge Boko Haram fighters after a state of emergency was called on May 14.[27] The offensive had initial success, but the Boko Haram rebels have been able to regain their strength. On August 5, 2013 Boko Haram launched dual attacks on Bama and Malam Fatori, leaving 35 dead.[28]

2014 Girls Abduction[edit]

On 15 April 2014, several militants abducted over 100 teenage girls from a college in Northern Borno state’s Chibok Town. This Incident has been widely attributed to Boko Haram.[29]

Political development[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Nigeria: Boko Haram Resurrects, Declares TotalJihad". allAfrica. 
  2. ^ a b Isaacs, Dan (5 May 2004). "Analysis: Behind Nigeria's violence". BBC News. 
  3. ^ a b AFP: Curfew relaxed in Nigeria's violence-wracked city: army
  4. ^ a b c "'Hundreds dead' in Nigeria attack". BBC News. 8 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "Attack on Nigerian town kills more than 200". CNN. 8 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Harnischfeger 2008.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Violence in Nigeria: The Crisis of Religious Politics and Secular Ideologies, by Toyin Falola, pg 212. ISBN 1580460186, ISBN 9781580460187
  9. ^ Nigeria: Information about a riot on 14 October 1991 at a meeting with the German evangelist Reinhard Bounike in Kano
  10. ^ Obed Minchakpu (2001-10-01). "Religious Riots in Nigeria Leave Hundreds Dead". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  11. ^ On this day. 2002: Riots force Miss World out of Nigeria. BBC news website, Sunday, 24 November 2002, 14:49 GMT.
  12. ^ THE "MISS WORLD RIOTS": Continued Impunity for Killings in Kaduna. Human Rights Watch, Vol. 15, No. 13 (A), July 23, 2003.
  13. ^ Obasanjo blames media for Miss World riots, Tuesday, November 26, 2002. Posted: 1144 GMT
  14. ^ Astill, James; Bowcott, Owen (November 27, 2002). "Fatwa is issued on Nigerian journalist". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  15. ^ Ostien & Dekker, 575 (25)
  16. ^ Cook, David (2011-09-26). "The Rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria". Combating Terrorism Centre. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  17. ^ a b "Nigeria accused of ignoring sect warnings before wave of killings". The Guardian. London. 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  18. ^ Nossiter, Adam (July 27, 2009). "Scores Die as Fighters Battle Nigerian Police". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "Nigerian Islamist attacks spread". BBC. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  20. ^ "Over 100 dead in Nigerian clashes". RTÉ. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  21. ^ Nigeria killings caught on video – Africa – Al Jazeera English
  22. ^ Bartolotta, Christopher (September 19, 2011). "Terrorism in Nigeria: the Rise of Boko Haram". The World Policy Institute. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  23. ^ Boko Haram strikes again in Borno, kills 4
  24. ^ Brock, Joe (2012-01-12). "Nigeria sect leader defends killings in video". Reuters Africa (Thomson Reuters). Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  25. ^ Jacinto, Leela (2012-01-13). "The Boko Haram terror chief who came back from the dead". France 24. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  26. ^ Nossiter, Adam (2012-02-25). "In Nigeria, a Deadly Group’s Rage Has Local Roots". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  27. ^ "'Civilians among dead in Nigeria offensive'". Al Jazeera. 31 May 2013. 
  28. ^ Clashes between Nigerian army, Boko Haram kill 35. Reuters. Retrieved on 2013-08-14.
  29. ^ "Boko Haram Militants abduct 100+ Teenage Girls in Nigeria". IANS. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 

External links[edit]

  • Blench, R. M., Daniel, P. & Hassan, Umaru (2003): Access rights and conflict over common pool resources in three states in Nigeria. Report to Conflict Resolution Unit, World Bank (extracted section on Jos Plateau)