By Roman Mamonov
Tensions are growing in Nigeria after a series of bomb attacks killed almost 40 people on Christmas Day. The assaults pave the way for Anti-Christian bashing in the Muslim North. Experts warn that if the authorities fail to bring the situation under control, the country could plunge into civil war. Observers believe that the Al-Qaeda is behind the attacks aimed at destabilizing the region.
The assaults carried out in the largest cities of the country provoked a new wave of violence. The town of Potiscum, located in the north-east of the country, is grasped by panic, as Christians are fleeing the region. Some 30 shops and residences belonging to Christians were burnt down after the Boko Haram militant group conducted a string of bomb blasts in Christian churches which claimed the lives of 42 people.
Analysts believe that the assaults appear part of a planned offensive by Al-Qaeda which is trying to get entrenched in central Africa. Viktor Nadein-Raevsky, an expert in the Oriental Studies, says the internal conflict in Nigeria could lead up to the collapse of the country.
“These attacks are, perhaps, coordinated by Al-Qaeda. The authorities have no power to fight this organization.”
Boko Haram – which has admitted carrying out these attacks – has been locked in an increasingly bloody struggle with the Nigerian authorities since it was founded in 2002. It is an organized force which enjoys very tight control over its militants. American analysts believe it has links with Al-Qaeda.
The EU and the US have voiced their concern over the situation in Nigeria. This concern is driven not only by political, but also economic reasons, as Nigeria is one of the world’s largest oil producers. As long as oil deposits are not in danger, the West will not meddle into the internal conflict, Georgy Engelgardt, expert on political Islam, says.
“International intervention is possible, only if the oil industry is in danger. The international companies and world powers are interested in stable oil deliveries from Nigeria. Until now, all the problems in the country have been resolved by private military companies that were hired by the largest transnational corporations.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the violence in Nigeria. President Dmitry Medvedev expressed his condolences over the assaults in a telephone conversation with his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan.
Andrey Klimov, a member of the international affairs committee in the Russian Parliament, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia, that MPs will soon come up with proposals to international organizations in a bid to normalize the situation in Nigeria.