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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid