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Nigeria’s deadly politics of interfaith love

A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria – with mixed-faith couples paying the price.



Jos, Nigeria – Hajiya Badamasi was a practising Christian when she married her Muslim husband in the central city of Jos 20 years ago and converted to Islam.

The Plateau State capital has been a tinderbox for ethnic and religious clashes in the middle belt region, home to a region where Nigeria’s largely Muslim north meets its mainly Christian south, encompassing many of Nigeria’s ethnicities.

The tensions began in 1991 when Jos was demarcated and divided into Jos North and Jos South. Violence started to break out in 1994, when a Hausa (a group which along with others are regarded as “settlers” in the region, as opposed to ethnic groups that view themselves as “indigenes”) was appointed as Jos North local government chairman.

According to International Crisis Group, roughly 4,000 people have been killed in sporadic outbreaks since 2001 in what Human Rights Watch described as “horrific internecine violence” .

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