Boko Haram; Terror in the Land of Africa

Abstract

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Introduction

            The nations of Africa is full of
their own shares of internal strife, whether it came from the economic gap of
the citizens, corrupt government official, overpowered military factions, but
that is to say, a problem commonly shared by many developing nations across the
globe. The problem with terrorism in Africa have often been overlooked by the
populace across the globe, seemingly focusing on the development of terrorism
and counter-terrorism of more develop country, going unnoticed, the progress of
terrorism in Africa nations have increased by a substantial amount.

            The face of terrorism in Africa
today would still be the infamous Boko Haram, In Nigeria, Boko Haram continues
to target civilians and government infrastructure despite several rounds of
operation conducted by the Nigerian Army. In the last eight years, it is said
that Boko Haram has taken 20,000 lives, displaced 2.6 million people, created
75,000 orphans and caused about nine billion worth of damage. The country
failing to deal with such a huge threat, right at their doorstep, spells a very
grim picture of what lay ahead should the threat of terrorism in each countries
are delayed in their effort to cut off the troubled grass by their roots.

            The action of the terrorist
organization have never been low-key, while they have yet spread their scale of
operation to a grander scale, those that are well within their reach have
dwelled in fear of the violent means of the organization, even in it earliest
conception between the year 2002-2004, the terrorist organization Boko Haram
have been behind the attack that claimed the lives of nearly 1000 people, and
the organization have now been around for 15 year, with each day growing bigger
and their attacks more sinister, it’s no wonder that the title of the world
most deadliest terrorist organization belongs to them.

            While the organization is growing,
the country have certainly not been idle in their efforts, although it might
see lack luster due to the fact that the organization have continued to
progress, countering the organization is not an easy feat, there are a need for
foreign funding as well as a throughout military intervention put into place,
balancing between being an ally to destroy the vile organization without
overstepping their position as a foreign force, it’s a delicate and precarious
way to deal with the terrorist organization, but such headache is exactly what
is needed  to help destroy the
organization as well to rehabilitate the common citizen of the country so there
would be no relapse where a second Boko Haram created by the natives would
appear to once again terrorize the innocent people of the nations of Africa if
the military from foreign forces meddled to much in the extermination of the
organization.

           

 

 

Literature Review

          Understanding
Boko Haram: Terrorism and Insurgency in Africa. By James J. Hentz, Hussein
Solomon

            The book in itself tackles the enigma and violence
of the organization, while systematically analyzing the progress of the
organization. The author of the book James J. Hentz and Hussein Solomon have
created numerous scientific papers concerning the terrorist organization known
as Boko Haram and decided to compile them into one book for a more efficient
way for other scholar to seek insight into the current situation of the organization.

            The reason that the author of this
paper have chosen this book as the basis for the paper is due to the author
personal opinion, that the book have been one of the most detailed explanation
of the current situation concerning the organization, and also meticulously
explain how such organization rose to power, from the political and economical impact
to the current situation of the civilian facing threats of violence and death,
the book seems to have take a broad scope when concerning the organization that
is terrorizing Nigeria. While the author seeks to write the paper in the most
efficient way to describe the organization and the counter terrorism policy,
the author have not found a more encompassing book that can help the author
gain insight to the problem.  

 

Methodology

       Literature Review

     Literature review is
an important step in the scientific method to find the source of the data that
will support research and to determine the extent to which science-related
research has been growing, which would eventually find a conclusion. Can be
interpreted literature is the work done by the authors to collect information
relevant to the topic being studied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boko Haram

Boko Haram is an Islamic sect that believes northern
politics has been seized by a group of corrupt and false Muslims, to create a
“pure” Islamic state ruled by Sharia law. Since 2009 it has been driven by a
desire for vengeance against politicians, police, and Islamic authorities for
their role in a brutal suppression of the group that year. But the group has
proved itself to be very adaptable, evolving its tactics swiftly and changing
its targets at the behest of a charismatic leadership. The group leapt onto the
world’s agenda in August 2011, when it bombed the United Nations compound in
Abuja, killing twenty-three people. Some observers say Boko Haram has reached
out to find allies in other global jihadist movements in the Sahel. The speed
at which the group developed the capability to produce large and effective improvised
explosive devices and enlist suicide bombers to deliver them suggests outside help.
But thus far there remains no evidence to say the group’s intentions are to
confront and attack Western interests inside or outside Nigeria.

Boko Haram’s origins lie in a group of radical
Islamist youth who worshipped at the Alhaji Muhammadu Ndimi Mosque in Maiduguri
a decade ago. In 2002, this youth group moved from Maiduguri to a village
called Kanama, Yobe state, near the border with Niger, to set up a separatist
community. Its leader, Mohammed Ali, espoused anti-state ideology and called on
other Muslims to join the group and return to a life under “true” Islamic law,
with the aim of making a more perfect society away from the corrupt
establishment. In December 2003, following a community dispute regarding fishing
rights in a local pond, the group got into a conflict with the police. Group
members overpowered a squad of officers and took their weapons. This confrontation
led to a siege of its mosque by the army that lasted into the New Year. The
siege ended in a shootout in which most of the group’s seventy members were
killed, including Mohammed Ali.

The soon to be terrorist organization, gain
attention from the U.S. embassy due to the nickname that the locals gave them, “The
Nigerian Taliban” the group was the center of the media attention because of
the member that they garner came from the upper class of society, the rich and
influential people in the northern part of Nigeria, although the organization
upper echelon does not exclusively belonged to the elite, it is noted that one
of the member is the son of then Yobe governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim. Although at
the time the organization does not present the huge threat it gave now, they
were still hunted down as a group. The few survivors of the “Nigerian Taliban” settled
back with others from the youth group and stayed in a mosque named the Ibn
Taimiyyah Masjid, The group was left alone by the authorities, and it expanded
into other states, including Bauchi, Yobe, and Niger state, and became a “state
within a state,” with a cabinet, its own religious police, and a large farm.

 

 

The group attracted more and more people under its
roof by offering welfare handouts, food, and shelter, this can be said to be an
extremely effective move, as there are many people are group of refugees from
the wars over the border in Chad and jobless Nigerian youths. The source of the
group’s income were never clear at their infancy stage, many believe that Yusuf
received funds from his Salafist contacts in Saudi Arabia following his two
hajj trips. Other claimed that the possible source of funding for this would be
terrorist group during this period was donations from wealthy northern
Nigerians in the form of zakat, the obligation of wealthy Muslims to give
charitably to those that are poor  an in
need.

In July 2009 the group came into conflict with the police
traffic officers, who were enforcing a tightened restriction on motorcycle
helmets, and an argument ensued. The circumstances of the event were unclear,
but a member of the group is reported to have fired on the police, injuring
several officers. The group then attacked police stations in Bauchi and Yobe, killing
scores of police officers. Yusuf released several video sermons in which he
explicitly threatened the state and the police with violence. These events led
the Bauchi government to crack down on the group, arresting more than seven
hundred members. In Maiduguri, the police surrounded the group’s mosque, but members
of the sect managed to break out and for three days they had the run of the
town. They roamed the city acting independently, fighting police when they came
across them and killing Muslim and Christian civilians indiscriminately. The
police eventually regained control of Maiduguri, and then embarked on a bloody purge
of the group’s members and anyone they suspected of being a Boko Haram
supporter or sympathizer.

Dozens of people were rounded up and executed
without trial, including Yusuf’s father-in-law. Mohammed Yusuf was arrested by
the army and handed over to the police, who killed him within hours. Police
officials denied that he had been executed, saying he had been shot while
trying to escape. Those members of the group who were not killed or arrested
fled, some say out of Nigeria. They entered another incarnation, that of famous
Islamists on the run. After these events, the police and the army began to take
information from traditional rulers and imams in Maiduguri about people
suspected to be members or sympathizers of Boko Haram. If these people had
fled, their property was confiscated and parceled out to the traditional
leaders to keep or give to their supporters. An unknown number of people were
denounced at this time and later disappeared, presumed executed by the police.
A local journalist in Maiduguri believes the number of people who have
disappeared in this way could be more than one hundred. The activities of this
member were never found during the period of 2009-2010, but wherever they’ve
been to, it was clear that they have caught the attention of global jihadist
movements and rebel groups based around the Sahel.

 

 

 

Sometime in mid-2010, members Boko Haram have
returned to Maiduguri and started a campaign of assassinations against the
police in Borno and Yobe, using the simple combination f a motorcycle and a machete
to do a hit and run attack. Gunmen also forced their way into the homes of
local leaders who had cooperated with the police. The people who had taken over
houses formerly belonging to escaped Boko Haram members were also killed if
they refused to leave. The member of Boko Haram continue to terrorize and with
seemingly increasing momentum, on Christmas Eve 2010 as many as half a dozen
bombs were detonated near churches and a market in two districts of Jos,
Plateau state, then on New Year’s Eve 2010 a bomb was detonated in a popular
open-air fish restaurant and market inside the grounds of the Mogadishu barracks,
just outside Abuja. While it sits very close to a military barracks, the market
was frequented mostly by civilians and was relatively loosely protected. These
attacks showed the group was prepared to strike vulnerable spots and cause
civilian casualties. It launched its bombing campaign in the already tense city
of Jos, and it showed the authorities it was able to reach them in Abuja.

These attack continue for another 3 years until the
organization have grown so large and dangerous that the then president of
Nieria Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency, but even with the
country in the state of high tension, by the summer of 2014 Boko Haram’s  territorial expansion continued unimpeded. The
group seized several towns in the northeast of the country and the Nigerian
army was on the verge of defeat. In the south of the state of Borno, Boko Haram
took the town of Gwoza without any resistance. Strict rules with dire
consequences was imposed in the areas controlled by Boko Haram and the purging
of what they called “bad” Muslims and the hunting of Christians
continued and got worse. Eventually even with all the hard handed method
employed to decimate the terrorist organization, and even going as far as
asking for foreign intervention as a remedy to cure this undying cancer, the
government of Nigeria still failed in their attempt to eradicate Boko Haram

Now in 2018, nine years since the organization first
rise, the terror they instill on the local have not lessen by a bit, many have
even consider to be increasing rapidly once more, as they kidnap women and children
to forced them to commit suicide attack, not knowing which one of the people in
public spaces might bring about their death have created an environment where
many citizen flew to the flocks of Boko Haram, not because of ideology or
monetary gain, but rather from the fear that they might be the next victim of illogical
attack, ea lot of others have also stand under the terrorist banner due to the
years of brainwash that they  receive
from the savage army, as for the latest example would be the Chibok girls that
were kidnap in 2014 have now refuse to go back home.

 

 

 

Nigeria’s Security Tactics against
Boko Haram

Tactics employed by government security agencies
against Boko Haram have been consistently brutal and counterproductive. Their
reliance on extrajudicial execution as a tactic in “dealing” with any problem
in Nigeria not only created Boko Haram as it is known today, but also sustains
it and gives it fuel to expand. The police’s tactics have also made Boko Haram
members harder to catch. The people of Maiduguri and Kano are, for the most
part, more scared of the police and the army than they are of Boko Haram.
Ordinary people would not now go to the police to report suspicious activities
in their neighborhoods. Campbell reported that a contact of his encountered
preachers loyal to the organization openly gathering people to preach Yusuf’s
teachings in the streets of Kano.

Roadblocks set up to prevent militants from moving
arms around are quickly turned into opportunities for police to extract bribes.
Once in the queue of traffic—which can last hours in some places—drivers dare
not turn around for risk of being fired upon. There are frequently shootings by
police at major roadblocks. These incidents are very disrupting to normal life
but not as dangerous as the way the police actively go after the group. The main
technique currently used to fight Boko Haram is mass arrest at the site of
attacks. The police round up as many people they can at the site of an attack,
often long after gunmen or bombers have fled. Instead of questioning these
people, they are intimidated and money is extorted from them. Any information
about Boko Haram hideouts they do receive is acted on in a very heavy-handed
way. The police and army descend on the supposed hideout, all guns blazing,
with innocent passers-by often caught and killed in the line of fire.

Intelligence gathered by the police is done
haphazardly. Virtually the only contact the police have with the community is
at the level of the roadblock, with officers casting guilt on those who flee.
Other tactics include holding family members of people believed to be members
of Boko Haram as hostages. Human Rights Watch has reported that, in cases of extortion
outside the Boko Haram context, the police have killed people they have held who
were unable to secure money for their release. It is reasonable to suspect the
same is happening in northeast Nigeria with respect to families of Boko Haram
members. Oliver Owen, a PhD researcher on the Nigerian police, has said that
the only way to improve the situation is to promote fundamental police reforms
that incorporate ideas of community policing strategies. Increasing the
police’s contacts within the community, and making the police more accountable,
will enable the police to gather more intelligence about the activities of the
group. Reform of the police might also go some way to placating the group
itself, but it remains to be seen whether the group can be won over at all, especially
having come this far with its militancy.

 

Bibliography

Https://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-are-world-powers-unable-to-stop-boko-haram/,Pamela
Falk, April 12, 2016

Https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/boko-haram,
Mohammed Aly Sergie and Toni Johnson,
March
5, 2015

Https://idsa.in/idsacomments/rise-of-terrorism-in-africa_rberi_130417,
Ruchita Beri, April 13, 2017

Https://institute.global/insight/co-existence/africas-2017-terrorism-outlook,
Ryan Cummings, January 19, 2017

 

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