Boko Haram and Security Apparatus Rock Northern Nigeria

The security situation in northern Nigeria continues to deteriorate as Boko Haram steps up its attacks. Boko Haram is a militant, Islamist group calling for the imposition of Shariah law. The name, Boko Haram, translates into “Western education is a sin.” The name comes from the fierce opposition that Boko Haram members have to western education, which they see as corrupting Nigeria.

With the hot, Nigerian summer has come a new barrage of attacks. The governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, has pled with the radical sect to stop its assault,

“Once again, I wish to beseech my brothers in the Jama’atul ahlul sunnah lidda’awati wal jihad to lay down their arms and come and dialogue with us, for indeed this is the only way we can move our beleaguered state forward.”

As a result of Boko Haram’s attacks on anything from churches to restaurants to police and government offices, thousands are fleeing the northern city of Maiduguri out of fear for their lives. Boko Haram is not the only culprit, however. The infamous Joint Task Force, a part of the Nigerian security apparatus, has been accused of waging a brutal and irresponsible crackdown on Boko Haram. The Task Force has shown very little restraint or professionalism, which has resulted in countless incidents of random killings, rapes, and detention without cause.

While Boko Haram has limited itself to attacking northern Nigeria, the possibility remains that the group could attack central and southern Nigeria, which is home to a majority of the country’s Christians, in order to fulfill its plan of ousting any western influence. The prospect of inter-religious conflict looms large, especially when considering the carnage left behind from the 2010 Jos riots.

Additionally, Nigeria is consistently the fourth or fifth largest importer of crude to the United States. The security situation is undoubtedly being watched closely by the United States because of the sheer volume of oil Nigeria provides the United States, and any attack on oil infrastructure is likely to warrant some type of response. As of now, however, Boko Haram has been unwilling to attack anywhere near the Niger Delta, which is where all of the oil is located.

America has seen what happens when an oil producing country is “disturbed” by Muslim radicals. Could Nigeria be just another front in the multifaceted War-on-a-war-tactic? Only time will tell.


2 thoughts on “Boko Haram and Security Apparatus Rock Northern Nigeria”

  1. Ironically Boko Haram was far less of a threat when they got started because their distrust of Western education extended into full-on distrust of technology. They were fighting with bows and arrows and swords and rejecting anything more powerful on the grounds that they weren't available in Quranic times.

    After the summer 2009 crackdown on them, and the detention of their lightly wounded founder (who mysteriously "died of his injuries" shortly thereafter) the group seems to have gotten a lot more modern and a lot more dangerous.

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