News / Africa

Boko Haram: Small in Numbers, Big in Impact Across Nigeria

Governor of Borno state Kashim Shettima stands by his desk in the state house in Maiduguri May 22, 2014.
Governor of Borno state Kashim Shettima stands by his desk in the state house in Maiduguri May 22, 2014.
VOA News
The Nigerian state governor whose region is considered the base for Boko Haram said the militants are small in numbers -- but are having a huge and destructive impact.

Borno state governor Kashim Shettima said the militants comprise a "miniscule" proportion of the state's 6 million people. In an interview with VOA's Hausa Service, he said the group's relatively small size, however, has not prevented it from wreaking havoc across Nigeria.

"Just a band of terrorists, 50, 100, can really hold a whole community to ransom because -- one, they are indigenous to that land. Secondly, they are the ones setting the pace of the war," he said.

Nigerian officials believe Boko Haram is responsible for a string of atrocities across the country. The group claimed responsibility for last month's kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls and is believed to be behind twin bombings that killed at least 130 people in Jos this week.
 
Boko Haram
 
  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
  • Began in 2002 as a non-violent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009
  • Has killed thousands since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law

The group, which says it wants to establish a strict Islamist state in the country's north, has terrorized Nigeria for the past five years, killing thousands of people.

Shettima said Boko Haram's actions have put Borno state in the news for all the wrong reasons.

"It is an insult to the integrity, to the history of people of Borno for a group within our communities that is opposed to everything modern," he said.

Shettima said the kidnappings also have taken an economic toll on Borno state and its capital, Maiduguri.

"Borno is the gateway to the Central African sub region. Products from Nigeria reach as far as Libya, Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Maiduguri has always been the gateway, so the security problems we are facing have impacted negatively, adversely affected the economic fortunes of the state. Such that, even in the best of times, we are a poor state, now we have become poorer. Boko Haram has pulverized our people," he said.

Shettima had this description for Boko Haram's self-proclaimed leader Abubaker Shekau, who was seen in a recent video of the kidnapped girls.

"I see him as the chief priest of raving lunatics of the Boko Haram. I see him as a madman. I don't take him as somebody with any mental sanity," he said.

Shettima said in this age and time, no reasonable person would abduct innocent school girls and threaten to sell them into slavery.

In recent weeks, Boko Haram has stepped up the frequency and intensity of its attacks. Earlier this week, Nigerian lawmakers extended a year-old state of emergency in the northeast, where the group has been most active.

The Nigerian government has deployed thousands of troops to the area to combat the group, so far with little success.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was heading to South Africa, where he and other African leaders are to discuss ways to combat terrorism and militancy across the continent.
 
  • An unidentified victim of Tuesday's car bomb explosions receives treatment in Jos University Teaching Hospital in Jos, Nigeria, May 21, 2014.
  • Red Cross personnel search for remains at the site of a car bomb in Jos, Nigeria, May 21, 2014.
  • People inspect the remains of a car bomb in Jos, Nigeria, May 21, 2014.
  • Smoke rises after a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Jos, Nigeria, May 20, 2014.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: desmond from: italy
May 26, 2014 9:17 AM
how did governor know they small in number? let me rest my case for now.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs