The Biggest African Conflict You’ve Never Heard Of

In Nigeria’s so-called Middle Belt, 785 people have died in the past two years in sectarian violence, and the government is doing little to stop it.

As the military’s assault against Boko Haram and civilians in northern Nigeria continues, so too does the ongoing and underreported conflict in the villages around Jos, the capital of Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt. As in other parts of the Sahel stretching from Khartoum to Dakar, rivalries between ethnic groups, settlers and indigenes, herders and farmers, and religious groups overlap to create a kaleidoscope of insider and outsider identities. Resulting conflicts, in turn, create openings for international jihadist Islam, as in other parts of the Sahel. In the Middle Belt thus far, conflicts still remain largely local, but there is potential that they could acquire a cross-border dimension. Continue reading