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Nigeria's Sectarian Violence: Faces of the Victims

April 11, 2012|

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A poster of President-elect, Goodluck Jonathan, in a street in Kabala West, Kaduna, where a small bomb exploded on the night of the presidential elections, April 16, 2011. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2011.

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Mohammed Ahmed, 25, sits on a bed at the St. Gerard’s Catholic Hospital in Kaduna, Nigeria. Mohammed says he was injured after a bomb which was given to him by two men exploded; one of his companions died from his wounds. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2011.

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One of the police officers guarding Mohammed Ahmed at St. Gerard’s Catholic Hospital, in Kaduna, Nigeria. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2011.

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Anthony Ohazuruma, 32, was taken to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital in Niger State, after he was injured in the bombing at St. Theresa Catholic Church on Christmas day, 2011. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2012.

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A young man injured by a stray bullet. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2012.

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Ocheniya Daniel (center) mourns her son Joseph Inalegu, 22. He bled to death at the hospital. The family resides one block away from St. Theresa Church in Madalla, Niger State. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2012.

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Venture Ochebana's son is sleeping on the back of his mother. Venture, 44, was holding his son when the explosion occured and lifted both in the air. They both suffer from burns. Gwagwalada Specialist hospital, Niger State. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2012.

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Lawali Abubakar, 17, was injured as he was walking by the church. Lawali is a Muslim. Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Niger State. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2012.

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Some patients who were injured in the Christmas Day bombing in 2011 remain in the casualty ward at Gwagwadala Specialist Hospital, Madalla, Nigeria. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2012.

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A victim of the bomb blast is being supported by his sister at the Casualty Ward in Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Niger State. Image by Bénédicte Kurzen. Nigeria, 2012.

A series of Christmas church bombings coordinated by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in 2011 was evidence of Nigeria's worsening sectarian crisis. The divisions between the Muslim north and the Christian south almost destroyed the country—Africa's most populous and mind-bogglingly diverse country has been trying to appease such religious fissures for years. The effort, however, has been undermined by deprivation, corruption and increasing marginalization that, in effect, lend more support to Boko Haram's rejection of secular authority. In 2011, prior to the national elections that would result in a victory for the Christian president Goodluck Jonathan, Boko Haram attacked party offices and assassinated office seekers. The election results angered many Nigerians in the north who supported the presidential challenger General Muhammadu Buhari, causing widespread post-election violence that killed at least 200, injured thousands, and displaced more than 40,000 people.