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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid