Terrorism Africa News
It is possible that Nigeria and Somalia will each be divided into multiple countries during this decade or the next. I could not be surprised if it happens sooner than later. Each country is in the midst of violence that was primarily perpetrated by terrorist groups. In each case the central government is ineffectual in managing security and delivering the needed services to the poorer districts. If we do witness the partitioning of these countries we will be well on our way to seeing the redrawing of many national boundaries on the continent.
Over the past sixty years African countries have struggled to gain independence from their colonial rulers. That process took close to fifty years. South Africa was the last to achieve such a righteous milestone. Yet, this independence was for countries who borders were set by the colonialists and looked very little like the kingdoms and ethnic domains recognized by Africans for centuries. The continent may well be on the verge of a redrawing of the demarcations of sovereign states to more accurately represent the realities of the continent. It could be said that the movement to throw off colonial borders may have begun with the division of Ethiopia, resulting in Ethiopia and Eritrea, followed by Sudan splitting into Sudan and South Sudan. These divisions were preceded by violent conflicts and referendums.
Al-Shabaab claims to be a jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda with the agenda of placing all of Somalia under Sheria. Few analysts would differ with that description. The ability of Al-Shabaab to take control and place all of present day Somalia under Sharia is questionable. In fact the current struggle in Somalia has spawned several ad-hock meetings of diaspora Somalians who have drawn up plans that would result in Somalia being divided into three countries separated primarily along ethnic or clan lines.
Boko Haram has its genesis and base of operation in the poor, Muslim north of Nigeria. They have bombed Christian houses of worship, government and United Nations instillations and recently demanded that government troops and southerns leave the north. Their terrorist operations have brought Nigeria to the brink of civil war. The struggles between the ethnic and religious loyalties of Nigerian northerners and southerners are not new, however they seem to be escalating to new heights. Northerners, who are primarily Muslim, are being chased out of the south. Southerners, who are primarily Christian or animistic, are fleeing the north. The partitioning of the country is being openly discussed by analysts and scholars.
Colonial powers contributed to these current struggles by drawing national boundaries in haphazardly, paying little or no attention to the ethnic make up of the region. Terrorist organizations like Boko Haram and al-Shabaab have only brought to a boil the simmering animosities and fears that have divided their countries since independence.