Tag Archives: Boko Haram

Has Boko Haram Been Defeated?

In an interview with the BBC, Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria, asserted that Nigeria had “technically won the war” against the terrorist organization Boko Haram in the country. According to Buhari, Boko Haram could no longer mount “conventional attacks” against security forces or population centers in Nigeria, and had been reduced to relying on roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices to carry out attacks.

Since its founding in 2002, Boko Haram has carried out dozens of attacks, primarily against soft targets, in Nigeria and across Western Africa. In April 2014, the group was catapulted into international headlines when it kidnapped 276 girls from a school in Chibok, in northern Nigeria, sparing the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. While more than 50 were ultimately able to escape, more than 200 others remain missing and are believed to have been married off or sold into slavery. According to many observers, that event was critical to the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign for reelection in 2015.

What do you think? Has Boko Haram been defeated? How is success against an organization like Boko Haram to be measured? And how would you advise President Buhari to deal with the group?

Oil, Terror, and Economic Development in Nigeria

This week marks the first 100 days in office for Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari’s election in May marked a fundamental turning point in Nigeria’s conflicted political history. Buhari first assumed political power through a military coup in 1983. But he later resigned and political power transitioned to an elected president. Buhari unsuccessfully ran for the elected office in 2003, 2007, and 2011. Earlier this year he campaigned again for the position and won the popular vote, marking the first time in Nigerian history that an incumbent president lost the office through a popular vote.

Buhari’s presidential campaign centered on three main pillars: defeating the Boko Haram terrorist group that occupied much of the northern part of the country, fighting the rampant corruption that plagues Nigeria, and spurring economic growth. How has he done? Boko Haram has been dispelled from much of the territory it held in northern Nigeria but remains a threat. Corruption remains rampant. And economic growth in Nigeria has been undermined by falling global oil prices.

What do you think? Can Buhari spur economic growth in Nigeria? How? What would you counsel him to do if you were his political and economic adviser?

Terror in Paris vs. Terror in Nigeria

Michelle Obama holds the #BringBackOurGirls message after the April 2014 kidnapping of 273 girls from a school in Chibok, Nigeria. Approximately 230 remain missing.

Michelle Obama holds the #BringBackOurGirls message after the April 2014 kidnapping of 273 girls from a school in Chibok, Nigeria. Approximately 230 remain missing.

While the world’s attention has been focused on the fallout from the Paris terror attacks, Boko Haram, a terrorist organization dedicated to establishing an Islamic state in Nigeria, has intensified its operations in the country. While social media has been dominated by the message #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie), referring to the attack against the satirical journal Charlie Hebdo in Paris, much less attention has been paid to the message #JeSuisNigeria.

Meanwhile, new satellite photos suggest that as many as 2,000 people have been killed and more than 3,600 structures in Baga, a town in northern Nigeria, have been destroyed. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced as a result of the attacks and ongoing fighting between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram terrorists.

Boko Haram, officially known as the People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad, has been implicated in a series of attacks and kidnappings, including the kidnapping of more than 270 girls from Chibok last April. That kidnapping launched a social media campaign featuring celebrities, politicians and others holding a sign with the message #BringBackOurGirls. In total, as many as 1.5 million people have been displaced as a result of the group’s activities in northern Nigeria, and Boko Haram has recently threatened to expand its operations into Cameroon and other countries in the region.

What do you think?  Why have the activities of Boko Haram generated significantly less international attention than the Paris terror attacks? Do you think that the international community should respond to Boko Haram? If so, how? If not, why not?

Fighting Boko Haram

First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday released a video stating that she and her family were “outraged and heartbroken” by the mass kidnapping of more than 200 girls from their school in Nigeria. A militant Islamic group known as Boko Haram http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13809501 has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. Despite threats that they would sell the girls into slavery if the West intervened, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced they would provide military and humanitarian assistance to the Nigerian government as it struggles to address the crisis.

Boko Haram’s primary goal is to establish an Islamic state free from Western influences in the northern part of Nigeria. The group is believed to be responsible for more than 10,000 deaths in Nigeria, but has limited influence outside the country.

The most recent round of kidnappings have provoked a sharp response, and the #BringBackOurGirls twitter campaign has garnered support from a wide variety of Hollywood stars,  professional athletes, music and recording artists, and celebrities. But US and British intervention in Nigeria could provoke a sharp response and have unintended consequences, further destabilizing the Nigerian government and leading to an increase in domestic support for radical elements.

What do you think? Should the United States intervene in Nigeria to address the rise of Boko Haram? Why? What kind of action, if any, do you think the United States should take? Can Western intervention be successful? Why?