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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid