Nigeria: Politics and Government

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 20th January 2012.

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Photo of Ian Lucas Ian Lucas Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 20th January 2012

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the causes of sectarian violence involving the Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 20th January 2012

In the last year Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks against a range of targets including government institutions, security forces and an international organisation, the UN. Recently, Boko Haram has also claimed responsibility for a number of attacks specifically targeted against Christians and Christian places of worship, although it remains the case that the majority of Boko Haram's victims to date have been Muslims, including Muslim religious leaders. We assess that the purpose of the attacks against Christians is to exacerbate religious and communal tensions. However, in some instances we judge that attacks carried out with criminal motives are also being ascribed to Boko Haram. Poverty, lack of economic opportunity, social inequality and political tensions all contribute significantly to insecurity in northern and central Nigeria.

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