Boko Haram’s terror tactics in north-eastern Nigeria have led to increasing mistrust between Christians and Muslims, according to Nigerian-based novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani writing for the BBC.
Long after Boko Haram has gone, she said, the insurgents will leave behind in some communities ‘a dense cloud of internecine hatred and suspicion’.
Nwaubani visited Michika in the north-eastern state of Adamawa to see at first hand a joint initiative by the American University of Nigeria and the Adamawa Peace Initiative to reduce violence and build peace through collaboration between local religious, community and business leaders.
The mixed Christian-Muslim population of Michika had always managed to live in peace despite some tensions, she writes. Since Boko Haram arrived, however, all that has changed with Christians and Muslims now at loggerheads.
But the initiative has brought tensions into the open. ‘We had been carrying these grudges instead of tabling them,’ a man said. ‘We had been pretending as if they did not exist.’
In January, Christian and Muslim leaders made a call for peace and tolerance when they met at the town of Mora on the Cameroon border with north-eastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram activity has been spilling over as the terrorists have been increasingly pushed out of their Nigerian strongholds.