Wednesday 29 July 2009

The Nigerian Taliban

Just as Foreign Secretary David Miliband urges the Afghan government to start talking to the Taliban, the so-called “Nigerian Taliban” has started to wreak havoc in West Africa.

The Muslim fundamentalist Boko Haram sect (its name means "Western education is a sin") is alleged to have shot and stabbed civilians at random in the north of the country, as well as attacking police stations and government buildings. The military has retaliated by shelling the compound of the sect’s leader.

The government has tried to evacuate civilians, but many are still in harm’s way, and up to 150 people are said to have been killed in the last four days. The group wants to see Sharia law imposed right across Nigeria, instead of just in the Muslim north as it is at present, even though half the population is Christian.

Boko Haram is not thought to have any direct links with the Afghan Taliban, and some say the nickname was invented by its opponents to try to ridicule the group.

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