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Metro Nigeria: 10 Gruesome Killings In The Name of Religion

Nigeria, the largest African country by population (over 182 million in 2015), is nearly equally divided between Christianity and Islam though the exact ratio is uncertain.

Recently, A 74-year old Igbo market woman, Mrs Bridget Agbahime, was beheaded at Kofar Wambai Market, Kano, by an irate mob, who accused her of blaspheming Prophet Mohammed.

The incident occurred when traders were about to close for the day’s business.

While condemning such an act, the Northern Christian Association of Nigeria described it as barbaric and wondered why such gruesome and barbaric incident always featured in Kano, a foremost commercial city in the country.

However, Kano, is not the only city or state in the country where people have been killed in the name of religion.


Here is a quick look into ten gruesome religious killings witnessed in the country since January 2000

1. 2000 Kaduna riots (21 February-23 May 2000)

The riot followed a proposal to adopt the Sharia law in the state. The proposal led to a violent clash between Christians and Muslims in Kaduna State. Death toll was estimated between 1,000 to 5,000 people

2. 2001 Jos riots (7–17 September 2001)

These riots involved Christians and Muslims who clashed violently in Jos, over the appointment of a Muslim politician, Alhaji Muktar Mohammed, as local coordinator of the federal poverty alleviation program. The clashes started on September 7 and lasted nearly two weeks, ending on 17 September.

Over 1,000 people were killed during the riots.

3. Nigerian army/Shiites Muslim clash (Late 2015)

Nearly 350 dead bodies were buried in a mass grave in Kaduna, after clashes between the army and supporters of a Shiite cleric, a public official has told an inquiry into the unrest.

The testimony of Muhammad Namadi Musa, the director-general of the Kaduna State Interfaith Bureau, lends weight to claims that at least 300 people were killed in the violence.

The clashes came after the army said supporters of the cleric Ibrahim Zakzaky, who heads the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) group, tried to kill the chief of army staff.

Zakzaky has not been seen since his home and the IMN mosque in Zaria, Kaduna state, were destroyed, prompting calls for his release and criticism that the government is flouting due process.

4. Yelwa massacre, Yelwa, Shedam and Kano ( February 2, 2004)

The so-called Yelwa massacre was actually a series of related incidents of mass violence between Muslims and Christians which took place in Yelwa, Kano State between February and May 2004, killing over 700 people.

According to some sources, the signal for the attack was a call for Jihad from the local mosque.

5. Muhammad cartoons controversy in Maiduguri (February 18,2006)

The killings began after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 editorial cartoons on September 30, 2005, most of which depicted Muhammad. The newspaper announced that this was an attempt to contribute to the debate about criticism of Islam and self-censorship.

Muslim groups in Denmark complained, and the issue eventually led to protests around the world, including violent demonstrations and riots in some Muslim countries.

The international crisis reached the Nigerian city of Maiduguri, in which over 50 people were killed and many buildings destroyed or damaged by rioting Muslims.

6. 2008 Jos riots (November 28-29)

The 2008 Jos riots involved Christians and Muslims over the result of a local election on November 29 and 29, 2008 in Jos. Two days of rioting left hundreds injured and at least 761 dead. The Nigerian army was deployed and by November 30 order was restored.


7. 2009 Boko Haram uprising

The 2009 Boko Haram uprising was a conflict between Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group and Nigerian security forces. Violence across several states in northeastern Nigeria left over 1,000 dead, with around 700 killed in the city of Maiduguri alone, according to one military official.

8. 2010 Jos riots

The 2010 Jos riots were clashes between Muslim and Christian ethnic groups near the city of Jos. Since 2001, the area has been plagued by violence motivated by multiple factors. The clashes have been characterised as “religious violence” by many news sources, although others cite ethnic and economic differences as the root of the violence.

9. December 2011 Nigeria attacks

A series of attacks occurred on Christmas Day church services in northern Nigeria on 25 December 2011. There were bomb blasts and shootings at churches in Madalla, Jos, Gadaka, and Damaturu. A total of 41 people were reported dead.

The Muslim sect, Boko Haram claimed responsibility.

10. Yobe Federal Government College attack (February 25, 2014)

On February 25, 2014, fifty-nine boys were killed at the Federal Government College of Buni Yadi in Yobe State. The twenty-four buildings of the school were also burned down as a result of the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but according to media and local officials, the Islamist militants, Boko Haram, are suspected to be behind the attack.
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