As in the Middle East, the international organization Islamic State and its regional allies and followers are active in Africa. The strategic goal of this organization on the African continent is, again, "the return of Muslim lands" and the creation of a caliphate in a vast territory, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda, Chad, Nigeria. Religious radicals are especially active in those countries where there is a dividing line between the territories of the spread of Islam and Christianity, or traditional beliefs. As you know, the borders in Africa were established artificially - along the borders of the former colonies of European powers, which did not imply taking into account the actual historical, socio-demographic, socio-cultural characteristics of African countries. As a result, Christians and Muslims found themselves in the same state, radically different from each other in their way of life and worldview. Religious differences were exacerbated by ethnicity, and ethnic differences by economic competition. Not only representatives of different religions, but also peoples at war with each other found themselves united within the same states and were forced to try to build a common life, which almost never happened without a lot of blood. Almost everywhere, where within the same state there was a “cultural fault line”, after decolonization, conflicts were observed, which grew, at best, into a sluggish political confrontation with periodic riots and terrorist attacks, and in the worst case - into bloody civil wars, the victims of which were hundreds of thousands person. Of course, ethnic and religious divisions on the continent were stimulated and supported by interested third parties. Once they were the USA, the USSR, the PRC - each of these countries was playing its own military-political game in Africa. The factor of Islamic radicalism, behind which the oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf and the United States of America stand behind, have multiplied.
Nigeria is a Christian Muslim country
Until 1990's The main territory of activity of Islamic fundamentalists remained North Africa, first of all - Algeria. South of the Sahara, the most active fundamentalists have manifested themselves in Somalia. However, in the 2000-s. the situation began to change rapidly, which was connected both with the continuing Islamization of the “Black Continent” and with the radicalization of the Muslim population of Africa, especially in those countries where Muslims were not a majority of the population and were forced to coexist within the same state with Christians or adherents traditional beliefs. West Africa, first of all, Nigeria, has become the new zone of influence of radical Islamists. By the end of 1990's Nigeria has also become one of the most dynamically developing countries in the African continent. High rates of economic growth, caused by rising oil prices, contributed to the improvement of the economic situation of the country. There was also a transition from military dictatorships, periodically replacing each other throughout 1960's - 1990's, to civilian rule. Despite the many problems that the country faced in the sphere of political governance (and this is tribalism, corruption, abuse of power and other phenomena that are quite common for Africa), Nigeria remained one of the most developed and stable countries of the continent. However, in the 2000-s. the situation began to change for the worse. And the reason for this was just that “cultural rift” about which we wrote above. In terms of population, Nigeria ranks first in Africa and seventh in the world, overtaking, including Russia. More than 180 million live in the country. human. These are representatives of 250 peoples and tribes, among which the Yoruba are the most numerous, constituting 21% of the country's population, Igbo (18%), Hausa and Fulbe (together - 29% of the population). The population of the country is almost equally divided into Muslims and Christians. Islam professes about 50% Nigerians, 40% are Christians and 10% - followers of local traditional beliefs (the latter are politically more Christians). Naturally, such a proportion of Muslims and Christians in the population of the country greatly complicates interfaith dialogue. Moreover, the religious differences in the country coincide with ethnic and geographical. The process of spreading the main world religions - Christianity and Islam - was carried out in Nigeria in two ways. Christianity was brought to the country by European missionaries who landed along with merchants and colonialists on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, in southern Nigeria. Therefore, the southern and eastern regions of the country became the region of the greatest distribution of Christianity. Christianity is practiced by the Yoruba, Igbo, Ijo, Ibibio and many others. 20 million Nigerians profess Anglicanism, another 20 million. Catholicism, more than 18 million are followers of various tendencies of Pentecostalism. Islam is the dominant religion in northern and western Nigeria. It is practiced by almost all representatives of the peoples of Hausa, Fulbe, Kanuri, Songai. 12 in the northern and western states of Nigeria has Sharia law, and 9 states are fully Sharia, and in another three Sharia is approved in areas densely populated by Muslims. The approval of sharia in the northern states began with the fact that in 1999 Ahmad Rufai Sani, the governor of Zamfara State, advocated the introduction of Sharia law at the state level. At present, Sharia legislation is in force in the states of Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Jigava, Kebbi, Yobe.
“Fulbsky Jihad” and Islamization of Northern Nigeria
The spread of Islam was carried out "by land" - from the northwest, from the formerly Islamicized territories of West Africa, first Muslims — wandering dervishes and merchants — arrived on the territory of modern Nigeria. However, the Islamization of the peoples of Northern Nigeria began to be the most active after the so-called “Fulba jihad”. The “Fulba jihad” refers to the religious-political movement that led to a real revolution in West Africa. At its origins stood the sheikh of the Sufi tariqah (religious-mystical order) Kadiriya Osman Dan Fodio (1754-1817) - an ethnic Fulbe by nationality. A famous Muslim scholar in the region, Dan Fodio created a religious community in the city of Degele, for twenty years developing it and turning it into a center of Islamic culture. However, in 1802, the governor of the Hausan state of Gobir, in whose territory the city of Degel was located, decided to eliminate its autonomy and kill Fodio. The sheikh and their comrades fled to the west, to Gudu, where they received support from the nomads - Fulbe.
Osman Dan Fodio was proclaimed Amir-al-Muminin - the Lord of the Faithful in Guda. He managed to create a large army from among his followers - mainly Fulbe by nationality, after which an uprising began against the pagan Hausa states. Osman Dan Fodio's troops succeeded in winning victory after victory over the armies of the kings of Haus, because the Fulbe, the nomadic people, had strong cavalry and could perfectly fight in horse formation. In addition, the jihad was actively supported by the peasant masses of the house, who were tired of enduring the oppression of the kings, the tribesmen. Osman Dan Fodio's propaganda was not only religious, but also social. The sheikh blamed the kings of the house, including those of them who were formally considered Muslims, of non-observance of sharia. The injustice that reigned in the Hausan states, according to Dan Fodio, was the result of the “unbelief” of their rulers. The sheikh's sermons were close to the masses and the number of his supporters grew steadily, while the territory controlled by the insurgents expanded. As a result, the power of the kings of the house fell, and the Sokotan Sultanate was created on the territory of modern Northern Nigeria. Osman Dan Fodio stood at the head of it, and after his death the title of "Muslim ruler" was given to Mohammad Bello - the son of Fodio. During his reign, the further expansion of the possessions of the Sokotan Sultanate continued. In particular, all the Hausa states, part of Nupe and Ilorin, were conquered.
The ruler of the sultanate bore the title of caliph, and his governors were considered emirs. Shari'ah was established in Sokoto. After the British conquest of Nigeria, the colonialists did not abolish the existing system of feudal states; therefore, the Sultans of Sokoto retained nominal power over their territories, just as their subordinate emirs continued to rule in their cities and regions. After the proclamation of independence of Nigeria, Sultan Sokoto lost real political power, but still remains the nominal head of the Muslims of Nigeria. It was as a result of the jihad of Fulbe and the subsequent creation of the Sokoto Sultanate that the territory of Northern and North-Western Nigeria was Islamized. Currently, despite the fact that Nigeria is a secular state, in its northern states there are Sharia law. Moreover, the orders in Northern Nigeria are very rigid, comparable to the Saudi or Somali. Periodically, pogroms of the Christian population erupt in northern Nigeria. Interfaith contradictions are reflected in the political life of the country, which is characterized by the confrontation of the northern and southern clans. Of course, it would be better for Muslims and Christians of Nigeria to live in individual states, given their almost equal numbers and historical contradictions, but as long as Nigeria remains a single state, the religious-political situation here is far from stability.
Almost immediately after the independence was declared, the struggle between Muslims and Christians intensified. The northern states wanted to live according to their own laws, establishing Sharia order on their territories. However, this inevitably entailed the oppression of the Christian minority living in the northern states. The growth of religious and political tensions in the northern states was caused, first of all, by reasons of a socio-economic nature. North of Nigeria is a much more closed and conservative region than the South, which has access to the sea and perceives Western culture and the Western way of life. In many states in North America, life has almost stopped. The geographical location of Northern Nigeria, characterized by a lack of access to the sea and difficult climatic conditions, also affects the economic situation of this region, which is the poorest in the country. As you know, Northern Nigeria is a zone of the Sahel, one of the main problems of which is gradual desertification as a result of the onset of Sahara sand and the increasing frequency of droughts. Desertification drives peasants off the land, creates obstacles to agriculture and cattle breeding, and ultimately contributes to the concentration of huge masses of marginalized people in cities.
On the outskirts of cities there are slum settlements, populated by peasants resettled from deserted territories. Naturally, unemployment flourishes in such settlements, and overall social well-being remains extremely unsatisfactory. Given the very high birth rate in Muslim families in Northern Nigeria, young people and adolescents make up the majority of urban slum dwellers. It is they who are the most susceptible to the propaganda of radical movements that emphasize not only religious, but also social rhetoric. In all the problems faced by the deprived population of Northern Nigeria, the preachers blame the authorities, retreating from religious traditions. A return to pure Islam is seen as the only way to establish social justice. Naturally, such sermons are found by a large number of supporters among the lumpenized urban and rural youth of Northern Nigeria. In addition to marginal youth and ruined peasants, the social base of radical movements in the region is made up of “muhajirs” or “Taliban” - itinerant students of local Koranic schools who travel around Northern Nigeria in search of teachers - theologians and means of subsistence. For life, these young and healthy people earn, above all, by begging and, for this reason, also constitute the most fertile ground for agitation activities of radical organizations.
The movement of "the one who curses"
Back in 1980, on the territory of Northern Nigeria, a mass movement called “Maitacine” appeared - “He who curses”. He was created and headed by a Muslim preacher Mohammed Marwa - a native of Northern Cameroon, who moved to 1945 in the old Hausan city of Kano in northern Nigeria. Mohammed Marwa claimed to be the continuer of the work of Sheikh Osman Dan Fodio. He spoke against the use of cars, bicycles, watches, radio, television. According to Marwa, any books other than the Koran are pagan and heretical. In 1972, Mr. Marva created the militant sect "Jan Tacine", but in 1975, he was arrested by the Nigerian police for slandering the current government. However, the preacher was soon released. The size of the sect continued to grow, primarily due to unemployed youth and migrants from economically backward areas of Northern Nigeria and neighboring Muslim states. In 1979, Mr. Mohammed Marwa went even further - he proclaimed himself the real prophet, calling himself "Annabi" (in the language of Haus, "the prophet"). In 1980, the sect began fighting against the Nigerian army and police. The cause of the outbreak of hostilities was the death of Marwa’s son in a clash with the police. After that, in December 1980, a major uprising began in the city of Kano. As a result of the fighting in only one Kano, 5 thousands of people died. Mohammed Marwa himself soon died - the cause of death is not precisely known, apparently he was wounded during one of the armed clashes with government forces. One of the Nigerian newspapers spread the information that the sheikh was cremated after his death, and his ashes were placed in a bottle, which is kept in the police laboratory in Kano. But even after the death of Mohammed Marwah, his supporters continued to unrest in the cities of Northern Nigeria. In October, 1982, riots broke out in Bulumkutta, in the area of Maydaguri, as well as in the city of Kaduna. It was in Kaduna that many followers of the sheikh relocated after his death. About three thousand followers of the teaching concentrated there. After the suppression of speeches in Kaduna, the uprising broke out in the city of Yola. By this time, Sheikh Musa Makaniki, the closest ally and student of Mohammed Marwa, became the leader of the movement. During the uprising in Yola, more than 1000 people died, 60 of thousands of citizens were left homeless over the rebel pacification operation conducted by government forces. The leader of the uprising, Musa Makaniki, fled to his hometown of Gombe, where in April 1985, new unrest occurred. Then Makaniki retreated to the territory of Cameroon, where he remained until 2004, until, during one of his visits to Nigeria, he was arrested.
"Boko Haram." Kanuri war
However, the gradual decline of the Meitacin movement did not affect the spread of Islamic radicalism in the northern states of Nigeria. Thus, in the city of Maiduguri, in the state of Borno, an organization called the “Assembly of the faithful followers of the Prophet and the community of Muslims” appeared. Initially, the organization’s activities were not of an extremist nature and its representatives even participated in televised debates with local officials. However, later the movement became more and more radical, which was also promoted by the public request for a radical ideology. In 2002, the “Assembly of faithful followers” was renamed “Jamaat Ahlis Sunna Liddaavati wal-Jihad”, which in Arabic means “Society of followers of the dissemination of the teachings of the Prophet and Jihad”. All over the world, the “Society” created in Maiduguri gained fame under the name “Boko Haram” (“Western education is sinful”). Followers of Boko Haram advocated banning Western education in Nigerian schools, Western culture, and Western-style political organization. The government of Nigeria was accused by the followers of Boko Haram of pro-Western sympathies and atheism, even if the head of state is a Muslim, in fact he is not a believer, since he allows the spread of Western culture in the country and acts in the interests of the West. The Boko Haram movement advocated the overthrow of the political system in Nigeria and the establishment of Sharia law in the country. Mohammed Yusuf (1970-2009), a native of Yobe, Nigerian state, stood at the origin of the movement. Mohammed's father, Yusuf, in the year of his son's birth, participated in the Hajj in Mecca, along with Mohammed Marwa, the founder of the Maytacin movement. After Mohammed Yusuf opened a Muslim religious center in Maiduguri in 2002, which included a mosque and a school, young people and teenagers began to flock to it, mostly from the lower strata of the population. Most of the supporters of Boko Haram were representatives of the Nigerian Kanuri nation. This ancient African people lives in the north-eastern part of Nigeria - in the province of Bornu, as well as in the south-east of the Republic of Niger and on the coast of Lake Chad in the Republic of Chad. The number of Kanuri in Nigeria is about 7 million. The specificity of the social and political organization of the Kanuri people is that it has its own tradition of statehood dating back to those times when no Nigeria existed. Islam was adopted by the people in the 11th century, and in the 14th century, the Bournu Sultanate, who waged religious wars with neighbors under the banner of jihad, created the Kanuri. Bornu existed until 1893, until it was defeated by the troops of the Sudanese slave trader Rabiah al-Zubayr, who, in turn, was not defeated by the French colonialists. The territory of the Sultanate was divided between England (the British part became part of Nigeria), France (the French part became part of Niger and Chad) and Germany (the German part then became part of Cameroon). Maiduguri city is one of the historical and cultural centers of the Kanuri people. Once it was the third residence of the sultan Born, after its old capitals Kukava and Dikva. Then in Maiduguri housed the military and administrative institutions of the British colonial authorities. From the middle of 1960's Maiduguri repeatedly became the center of religious speeches in which the Kanuri took an active part. Currently, about 1 million, 200 thousand inhabitants live in the city. Despite the fact that the Sultanate of Bornu has long ceased to exist, the emirs of Bornu retain their influence in the Kanuri environment, exercising religious authority in the state of Borno - the main Kanuri region in Nigeria.
Cattle breeding and farming have always been traditional Kanuri activities, but the Sahara sands offensive forced many Kanuri to seek refuge in cities, where they were interrupted by occasional earnings and became an excellent ground for the spread of radical sentiment. Since the Kanuri speak the same language of the Saharan language family, incomprehensible to the rest of the inhabitants of Northern Nigeria, Hausa and Fulbe, the propaganda activity of Boko Haram was for a long time limited exclusively to the Kanuri environment. In 2004, the city of Mohammed Yusuf, along with his associates, relocated in the vicinity of the city of Kannam in the state of Yobe, where the rebel base Afghanistan was established. In 2009, the first major incident involving Boko Haram occurred. A group of followers of the movement, who buried a comrade who died in a traffic accident, was stopped by the police. There was a clash. After that, 26 July 2009 Mr. Mohammed Yusuf attempted an armed uprising. His followers attacked the police station, after which the government was forced to impose a curfew and launch a police operation against members of Boko Haram. Extremists killed several local Christians who refused to accept Islam. As a result of a police operation and clashes, about 700 people died, including Mohammed Yusuf.
Intensification of hostilities
However, the police repression entailed only a strengthening of the Boko Haram position and further destabilization of the political situation in the states of Yobe and Borno. The confrontation between “Boko Haram” and the authorities acquired not only religious, but also ethnic features, since Kanuri, the absolute majority of followers of the religious movement, considered the actions of government forces to be one of the manifestations of ethnic discrimination of their people. As a result, even those Kanuri who had not previously shown particular interest in the religious and political activities of their fellow tribesmen were on the side of Boko Haram. Government forces and police faced great difficulties operating in territories inhabited by Kanuri, since the latter refused to cooperate with the central authorities.
At the same time, the radicalization of the Boko Haram movement took place. After the death of Mohammed Yusuf, the movement was headed by Abubakar Shekau. His exact date of birth is unknown, but judging by the photos, Abubakar is around 30-35 years. One of the closest associates of Mohammed Yusuf, Abubakar Shekau is also an ethnic Kanuri by nationality. They say that he was born in the village of Sheko in the state of Yobe, by whose name he received his last name. Abubkar Shekau is also called "Darul Tauhid" - "an expert in monotheism." In the past, he studied Islamic theology, owns, in addition to his native, also three other languages - English, Arabic and Hausa. Since 2010, the city of Boko Haram has launched a full-scale terrorist war in the northern states of Nigeria. Representatives of Christian minorities, police officers and military personnel, officials, and Muslim leaders who criticize extremist methods of movement are victims of attacks by militants of the organization. Thus, 14 March 2011, in the city of Maiduguri, militants of the organization shot the Muslim imam Ibrahim Ahmed Abdullah Bolori, who repeatedly criticized the activities of the radicals. In total for 2011 a year, at least 465 people died as a result of militant actions. 20 February 2012 of the year in Maiduguri, gunmen fired and bombed people in the city market. Killed 20 people. 17 June 2012, suicide bombers blew up three churches in the state of Kaduna, killing at least 40 people. 20 June 2012 of the year as a result of an exchange of fire between government forces and militants in the area of the city of Damatur, 40 people died. And this is not a complete list of terrorist attacks groups.
In an effort to end the violence, 14 in May 2013. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan was forced to impose a state of emergency in the area of Maiduguri, the epicenter of the activities of the Boko Haram group. Also, a state of emergency was introduced in a number of areas in northern Nigeria. However, these measures did not lead to a decrease in the terrorist activity of the group. So, 14 of April 2014 of “Boko Haram” kidnapped more than 270 schoolgirls in the Borno State Lyceum, motivating their actions by saying that it was time for girls to leave school and get married. 20 May 2014 as a result of the terrorist attack in the city of Jos 160 people died. 21 August 2014. Militants seized the city of Buni Yadi in Yobe state, announcing the creation of an “Islamic Caliphate” in the occupied territories. However, government forces are quite successful. So, on October 17 2014, the soldiers of the Nigerian army killed at least a hundred militants in the battle on the Nigerian-Cameroonian border. In this case, the loss of the armed forces of Nigeria was only eight people dead. But this serious blow, which weakened the group for some time, did not entail the cessation of its activities in the country. So, in January 2015, the militants "Boko Haram" burned 16 cities and villages in the state of Borno, including the town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad, where 10 thousands of people live. 12 January 2015 militants "Boko Haram" in the territory of Cameroon attacked the city of Kolofat, but the Cameroonian army managed to repel the attack of the radicals, destroying, according to a representative of the command of the armed forces of Cameroon, 143 militant. “Boko Haram” spread its actions not only to the territory of Nigeria, but also to the border areas of Cameroon and Chad.
4 February 2015 an organization’s militants clashed with the armed forces of the Republic of Chad, as a result of which Chadian soldiers killed more than 200 militants. The response to the actions of the Chadian army was a raid on the Cameroonian (for some reason) city Photokol, which killed 81 civilian, 13 Chadian military personnel (Chadian troops acted on the territory of Cameroon) and 6 military personnel of the armed forces of Cameroon. In March, 2015 became aware that Boko Haram supported the Islamic State in the Middle East. After that, the concerned authorities of the West African states began to discuss methods of dealing with the radical organization that is gaining momentum. The African Union approved the creation of an eight-thousand regional corps to counter extremists. 8 March 2015. Boko Haram positions in the border areas of Northeastern Nigeria were attacked by the air and ground forces of the Republic of Niger and the Republic of Chad. In April, the organization “Boko Haram” declared itself the “West African province of an Islamic state”. It is known that the Nigerian radicals maintain close ties with international terrorist organizations, primarily with al-Qaeda. Some militants "Boko Haram" have been trained in Afghanistan and Somalia, and now it is possible that they can take part in the hostilities of the "Islamic State" in Syria and Iraq, as well as in Libya. According to Algerian intelligence, Boko Haram is closely linked to the Al Qaeda branch in the Maghreb. At the same time, Boko Haram receives solid support from a number of Nigerian politicians and businessmen acting as lobbyists and sponsors of Boko Haram. Thus, Nigerian businessman Al-Haji Bello Damagouma, the owner of the famous Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust, was accused of supporting the organization. The intelligence services accused the entrepreneur of organizing the financing of Boko Haram, since back in 2002, Sudanese Al-Qaida had donated 300 thousand dollars to Damagum to finance subversive activities in Nigeria. The senator from the state of Borno Ali Ndume was also accused of having links with Boko Haram, against whom the detained militants of Boko Haram, Ndume, testified, acted as a sponsor of a radical organization.
Western wines are great in African wars
At present, the epicenter of the activities of the organization “Boko Haram” are the Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe and Adamava. Here, in northeastern Nigeria, representatives of the Kanuri people live compactly. Since Kanuri constitute a large group of people also in the border areas of Niger and Chad, in Cameroon, the organization “Boko Haram” is trying to extend its activities to the territory of these countries. The intensity of the conflict in 2014 reached its maximum - the number of those killed in the north of Nigeria was compared with the number of casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq during the highest escalation of hostilities in these countries. Certain changes have occurred in the methods of the militants. So, “Boko Haram” more and more actively resorts to criminal activities, including the expropriation of banks and shops. In addition, the militants are mercilessly cracking down on the civilian population, including Muslims, which puts them in front of the imminent prospect of losing political influence even among the Muslim population of northern Nigeria. The last factor has already begun to play a negative role, reflecting on the number of new adherents in the movement. Residents of northeastern states are less and less likely to join the ranks of Boko Haram, preferring to leave the area of combat operations. As a result, the organization has no choice but to resort to the services of mercenaries from Chad, Niger and Cameroon, using for their hiring funds received from international fundamentalist organizations. The government of Nigeria, in turn, succeeded in changing attitudes towards itself from a part of the local population and forming the “Gore” militia, in which kanuri, dissatisfied with the activities of “Boko Haram”, are en masse. It turns out that in the northeastern states of Nigeria there is a civil war, as the local youth turned out to be divided into supporters of the pro-government militia and Boko Haram.
As a result of the fighting and outflow of the population, the Borno state became 2014 in the poorest state of Nigeria, although before that the state of Sokoto was. Since 2013, as a result of the terrorist attacks carried out by the organization “Boko Haram”, about 13 thousand people died, more than one and a half million Nigerians were forced to leave their homes and become refugees in the territory of neighboring states. 250 more thousand people from Niger, Chad and Cameroon were also forced to leave their homes. Armed clashes continue to the present. So, 13 May 2015, the militants "Boko Haram" attacked the city of Maiduguri. In August, 2015, the President of Chad, Idriss Déby, announced that the leader of Boko Haram had changed. The new head of the organization allegedly became a man named Mahamat Daud, who is distinguished by more moderate positions and is ready for negotiations with the authorities of Nigeria. But further events that followed in September 2015 are unlikely to testify in favor of this assertion by the Chadian president. After 10 militants of Boko Haram were executed in Chad, 3 of September 2015, the extremists attacked two villages in northeastern Nigeria. The victims of the militants who on horseback attacked the peasants were 26 people. 23 September 2015 units of the Nigerian army liberated from the captivity militants "Boko Haram" over 240 women and children held in the territory of one of the camps of the organization. About this world media said the official representative of the command of the Nigerian armed forces. However, already 25 September 2015, the militants "Boko Haram" attacked the peasants celebrating a Muslim holiday in a village in the territory of the Republic of Niger. 15 people died - some were shot, others cut their throats.
The confrontation between the Nigerian government and the radical organization “Boko Haram”, which has reached its peak, testifies to the deep crisis of Nigerian statehood. The Western model of political organization and ideology, adopted by Nigeria after decolonization, proved incapable of effectively organizing life on a nationwide scale. If in the south of Nigeria, after pacifying the Igbo people (civil war with the self-proclaimed state of Biafra at the end of 1960), the Western model of political organization turned out to be more or less effective, the northern Nigerian states, conservative and semi-feudal, prefer to live in their own way. The main oil fields of Nigeria and the ports through which oil is exported are located in the south of the country. Naturally, the main economic resources are in the hands of representatives of the southern elite - the Igbo and Yoruba. However, the Muslims of Northern Nigeria do not agree with the fact that the bulk of oil revenues settle in the south of the country, while the northern states remain in the position of “poor relatives”. This economic contradiction also becomes one of the important factors aggravating the split of the Nigerian state. It is obvious that the events in Nigeria reflect the common problems for many other states of the Sahel region - yesterday's British and French colonies. Activization of radical religious movements, ready to weapons in the hands to defend their ideas and interests, gradually turns the Sahel belt into one continuous line of hostilities. The territory of the armed confrontation of radical groups and government forces, forced to resort even to foreign military assistance, stretched from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. Mali and Nigeria, Libya and Chad, Sudan and Somalia are fighting. However, unlike the events in the Middle East, the promotion of supporters of the "Islamic state" in Africa attracts much less attention from the world political circles. The United States of America is interested in the further escalation of conflicts on the continent, for whom the very fact of the revitalization of religious extremists in Nigeria is the reason for building up their military presence in African countries. Washington fears China’s growing economic and political influence on the African continent and is ready (through controlled Saudis and radical groups) to support religious wars and terrorism to oppose it.