U.N. to Nigeria: End sectarian violence

Jan. 12, 2012 at 2:47 PM
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ABUJA, Nigeria, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The U.N. human rights leader Thursday urged Nigeria's political and religious leaders to be bold to try to end sectarian violence wracking the country.

"It is essential that the country's leadership, and especially its Muslim and Christian leaders, join forces to unequivocally condemn all violence, including retaliation, and encourage their followers to identify and help arrest all those involved in killings and other acts of violence that have been taking place," High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a release.

The terrorist organization Boko Haram is a militant organization that seeks to establish Shariah law in the African country that has both Muslim and Christian populations. The organization has claimed responsibility for attacks against Christians and others, including the Christmas Day church bombing in which 49 Christians died.

Pillay urged the country's leaders to speak with one voice and act boldly "to stop an already highly dangerous situation from spiraling out of control."

"Everybody will be the loser if Boko Haram succeeds in its aim and efforts to sow discord between Muslim and Christian, or pit Northerner against Southerner," she said. "The fact that people are already leaving some areas where they are in a minority, out of fear of attacks by the majority, shows just how dangerous this is becoming for the country as a whole. Anyone inciting violence or hatred must be held accountable, no matter who they are."

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