The bomb explosion in Abuja last Monday provided one of the most gruesome images yet in Nigeria’s battle against extremist violence in its northern region. The pieces of metal from exploded vehicles and patches of human flesh had hardly settled when the spokesperson for the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) released a media statement blaming the attack on political opponents, but without publishing a single piece of evidence to support this grave accusation.
Escalating violence across five states in central Nigeria has killed more than 1,000 people since December 2013. The failure of Nigerian authorities to investigate the attacks or bring those responsible to justice is likely to exacerbate the cycle of violence in the conflict-prone north central region.
Kenyan authorities should promptly investigate the killing on April 1, 2014, of a prominent Muslim cleric in the city of Mombasa. Abubakar Shariff, an imam known as Makaburi and the chief cleric of the Masjid Musa mosque, was the third high-profile Muslim cleric to be gunned down in the Bamburi area of Mombasa in the past two years.
Anti-balaka fighters killed at least 72 Muslim men and boys, some as young as nine, in two recent attacks in southwestern Central African Republic. The assaults, on February 1 and 5, 2014, were in the village of Guen, in a region where abuses have been rampant, but not widely reported. Human Rights Watch interviewed survivors who had fled to a nearby village.