Nigeria: Terrorist Bombings Increase Religious Tensions
People stand in front of the partially destroyed St Theresa Catholic Church near Abuja that was bombed by radical Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram on December 25, 2011. (Sunday Aghaeze/AFP/Getty Images)
December 28, 2011
| Security
| Africa
The Christmas Day bombings in Nigeria by the radical Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram that killed 40 are re-igniting religious tensions, which could grow if the government is unable to quickly diffuse the situation. While few support the radical group, the attacks and subsequent reactions by religious leaders demonstrate the fragile coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country. The attacks also highlight the inability of the government to provide security to citizens and public resentment toward the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Boko Haram is a loosely organized Islamist terrorist group that wants to replace the secular Nigerian government with a Sharia state.  Abul-Qaqa, a spokesman for the group, claimed responsibility for the bombings, which he said were in retaliation for the killing of Muslims during the Islamic festival of Eid in August.  Boko Haram recently attacked several government targets and bombed the UN headquarters in Abuja on August 26, killing 23.

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