Muslim herdsmen fleeing Boko Haram jihadists and fast-spreading desertification in the north of Nigeria are clashing with Christian farmers in the south, adding a dangerous new dimension to the sectarian tensions and militancy plaguing the country.
Thousands of people from Muslim Fulani tribes have moved southwards this year, leading to a series of clashes over land that have killed more than 350 people, most of them Christian crop farmers, according to residents and rights activists.
The fighting threatens to fracture the country further by bolstering support for a Christian secessionist movement in the south-east, which has been lingering for decades but gained fresh momentum late last year when resentment over poverty and the arrest of one of its leaders spilled over into street protests… [The Christian South] is campaigning for an independent Biafra. They say they want to stop the Muslim north from dominating the Christian south…..The population of poverty-stricken Nigeria is expected to more than double to almost 400 million by 2050, according to the United Nations.y.
In one of the deadliest clashes, about 50 people were killed in April when Fulanis attacked the village of Nimbo in the south-eastern state of Biafra, according to residents, rights groups and lawmakers who visited Nimbo after the violence.
Excerpts from, Nigeria riven by new battles over scarce fertile land, Reuters, August 12, 2016