There are approximately 200 ethnic groups, many of which were concentrated regionally. They speak 128 distinct primary languages. Although most
ethnic groups were affiliated with one of two regional and cultural traditions--Arabs and Muslims in the North, Center, and East; and Christian or animist groups in the South--internal migrations in response to urbanization and desertification resulted in the integration of these groups in some areas.
Interethnic violence continued, particularly in the east and south. Clashes occurred between herders and sedentary populations and other interethnic violence that often concerned use of increasingly scarce arable lands due to desertification.
Societal discrimination was practiced routinely by members of virtually all ethnic groups and was evident in patterns of employment. The law prohibits government discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, although in practice ethnicity continued to influence government appointments and political alliances. Political parties and groups generally had readily identifiable regional or ethnic bases.
Race, Racism and the Law
Vernellia R. Randall
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