Boko Haram

Topics: Terrorism, Al-Qaeda, Suicide attack Pages: 7 (1946 words) Published: July 11, 2013
Terrorism in West Africa, Boko Haram’s Evolution, Strategy and Affiliations

Terrorism in West Africa, Boko Haram’s Evolution, Strategy and Affiliations


Since the emergence of Boko-Haram as a significant local terrorist group in the West African state of Nigeria, its operational reach has brought about one of the most daunting challenges for the regional security of this area. The effectiveness of their capability to operate and hit targets in a country that is said to be one of Africa’s security powers remains to be a security nightmare for anti-terrorism experts. Amid a large number of bombings, kidnappings and assassinations, several variations around the group’s ideology, strategies, techniques and linkages have brought challenges to the region.

In North Africa Al-Qaida is operating in smaller groups, the linking of the two group’s poses a significant challenge in the area. This paper will discuss the ideology, strategies and methods links Boko Haram and their affiliation to Al-Qaeda.

History and Background of Boko Haram

Onuoha (2010) attributes the new space for Islamists extremism in Nigeria with the return of democracy in 1999. The return of democracy also brought a rise in kidnapping, militancy, robberies and religious conflicts. Religious violence increased in the wake of challenges to human security and internal discourse. Estimates of deaths due to religious violence between 1999-2003 are more than 10,000 (Onuoha, 2010).

Government leadership failure has also played a role in the Boko Haram crisis. Factors that lead to Boko Haram and its current issues are the Nigeria’s forms of justice. Nigeria has two forms of justice; legal and jungle. Legal justice condemns illegal practices and extra-judicial killings. Jungle justice detains a suspect and executes the individual without a formal trial (Onuoha, 2010). After a governmental sweep in 2009, many members of Boko Haram were not tried for their crimes, but were executed. This triggered criticism of the Nigerian government because there was not a fair and legal process to justice (Onuoha, 2010).

The origin date to the formation of the Boko Haram is 2002, but the group was not formally known as Boko Haram but as a youth group (David, 2013). The group’s origins are based in an Islamic youth group. In 2004, the United States’ State Department investigated the group but did not find them to be a threat.

The organization attracted community support and membership by providing community aid. The organization is alleged to have received outside funding (Onuoha, 2010). In 2007, Sheik Ja’afar Mahmoud Adam was assassinated during prayer; he had publicly objected to the radical ideology of the group (Mark, 2013). Damagun the group’s leader was arrested on three counts; being a member of the “Nigerian Taliban”, as it was dubbed; receiving a total of $300,000 from al- Qaeda to train and recruit Nigerians as terrorist; and participating in acts of terrorism. Yusef, another group leader was accused of 5 counts; one of which included receiving money from Pakistani operatives belonging to al- Qaeda (Onuoha, 2010). After this, many members went into hiding.

By mid-2010, Boko Haram was again at the Nigerian forefront. With members having potentially received training while in hiding, the organization returned with a new vigor (Davis, 2013). The group’s return includes a campaign of assassinations and attacking police check points. A notorious event includes Christmas Eve in 2010; the group detonated more than half a dozen bombs near churches and markets. Several people were killed in the attacks. A few days later, on New Year’s Eve, a bomb is detonated in a popular market area; killing 10 people (Davis, 2013).

Since the beginning, Boko Haram has transitioned from a group of insurgents using poisoned arrows to coordinated car bombing. In the 2011, the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Committee on Homeland Security...

References: Davis, C., Anatomy: African Terrorism: Boko Haram: Nigeria’s Homegrown Terror Network, World Policy Journal, (2012) 29:16Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy; vol 37 no 7; 2009; p11-12Gambrell, Jon “No Peace Talks”, News24 Online, March 6, 2013.
Glickman, H., “Africa in the War on Terror,” Journal of Asian and African Studies, 2003;38; 162Global Terrorism Database, Retrieved from Lewis, Aidan “Why the Sahara is not Afghanistan,” BBC Online, Feb, 5 2013.
Mark, M., “Boko Haram ready for peace talks with Nigeria, says alleged sect member”, The Guardian Online, February 4, 2013,
Onuoha, F., ‘The Islamist challenge: Nigeria’s Boko Haram crisis explained’, African Security Review, 19:2, (2010) 54-67 Profile: Boko Haram, Al-Jazeera English Online, July 9, 2010
Social Science, 2010 632: 55World Drug and Arms Report, 2010, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC, 2010) Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Committee on Homeland Security (2011).
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