News / Africa

Nigeria's Boko Haram Remains Persistent, Mysterious Threat

Nigeria's Boko Haram Remains Persistent, Mysterious Threati
X
November 14, 2013
The United States has formally designated Nigerian militant sect Boko Haram and a splinter group, Ansaru, as foreign terrorist organizations. VOA's Anne Look has this report on what we know about Boko Haram.
TEXT SIZE - +
Anne Look
— The United States has formally designated the Nigerian militant sect, Boko Haram, and a splinter group, Ansaru, as foreign terrorist organizations. 

Boko Haram's propaganda videos have been some of the public's only windows into the shadowy militant sect. 

Sect leader Abubakar Shekau appears in them routinely. He boasts about attacks and threatens enemies ranging from the Nigerian government to Christians to the United States.

A man in recent videos who experts say appears to be Shekau taunts the Nigerian military, which has declared him dead twice.

In a video distributed on DVD to journalists in Maiduguri in early October, the sect shows off large stocks of weapons it says it seized from Nigerian soldiers.  Shekau says "a big war" is coming.  He says "This war is not about the Nigerian government; it is a war to uplift Islam and get all non-Muslims to repent their ways and embrace Islam.  This war is a task that will bring peace, tranquility, equality and fairness in Nigeria."

A charismatic imam named Mohammed Yusuf founded Boko Haram in the northeast in 2002.

People nicknamed the sect Boko Haram after Yusuf's preaching.  It means "Western education is forbidden" in the local Hausa language.

The sect wants to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria's Muslim-majority north.  Its war with the Nigerian state has killed thousands of people since the insurgency began in 2009.

Yusuf was murdered that same year during a crackdown against the sect.  His deputy, Shekau, resurrected what remained of the sect.  It reemerged in 2010 more violent than ever. 

"He [Shekau] really transformed an organization that was sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaida to an organization that operated like the Taliban and al-Qaida.  Whereas for Yusuf, it was mostly just preaching and preparing for jihad, but he [Shekau] transformed it from a preaching group about jihad to an actual jihadist group,"
said Jacob Zenn, Nigeria analyst for the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.

Militants have attacked police and military installations, schools, churches, mosques and the U.N. headquarters in the capital, Abuja.  There have been dozens of raids, suicide bombings and drive-by shootings.

Security experts say Boko Haram militants have trained with al-Qaida linked groups in Africa, like al-Shabab and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Experts say what people call Boko Haram is actually several distinct factions.   Moderates have split off - some wanting dialogue with the government, others forming new militant groups, like Ansaru, which took issue with the sect's killing of Muslims. 

Nigeria launched a massive land and air offensive against Boko Haram in the northeast in May. 

Despite the military's reports of success, attacks have continued, not all of them claimed by Boko Haram.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: K Taddonio from: New York, NY
November 15, 2013 9:50 AM
While it is important that the United States recognizes the violent acts of Boku Haram and its splinter groups- I tend to wonder whether this designation is really significant. Seems to be a passive act by the government without any real implications or meaning. http://transparentpolicy.org/2013/11/us-adds-boko-haram-terrorist-organization/


by: Sunny Enwerem from: Nigeria
November 14, 2013 9:21 PM
it will only cost 1 politician's loot to build a well needed military baracks in all our porus boarders to better protect the country ,when are we ever gonna have reasonable leaders?


by: freedom
November 14, 2013 12:54 PM
Let the BIAFRANS Go and stop killing them, They have the highest number of christians in Nigeria and are involved in all these killings by the so called islamic boko haram. Nigeria can only be good if it will be splitted into three and everyone will go their way and mind their own tradition, religious and cultural belief.

In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
November 14, 2013 10:51 PM
Splitting Nigeria into several small mini states will never ever solve any current political problems.
People ought to be educated themselves about the benefit of staying united, accountability, fairness and democracy.
In my country, Somalia, where everybody seems to have one language, culture, tradition and religion, but we continued mercilessly slaughtering one another, raping girls as young as five year old, and splitting the country into hundreds of small mini states. We created in our neighbouring country the largest refugee camp in the world. Yet unfortunately solving all these problems seems very remote. I strongly believe that only mass education is the only way out.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid