News / Africa

Nigerians Fear Boko Haram Violence Only to Escalate

Residents watch as two men walk amidst rubble after Boko Haram militants raided the town of Benisheik, west of Borno State capital Maiduguri, Sept. 19, 2013.
Residents watch as two men walk amidst rubble after Boko Haram militants raided the town of Benisheik, west of Borno State capital Maiduguri, Sept. 19, 2013.
Heather Murdock
Despite reports of Nigeria’s success against insurgent group Boko Haram, recent violence attributed to the group has some Nigerians worried that the militants are growing stronger. Many worry the violence will only increase as the 2015 elections draw closer, on the prospect that politicians will hire the militants to attack their opponents.

Since May, when President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in northeastern Nigeria and sent thousands of troops to fight Boko Haram, the government has consistently reported victories on both the battlefield and in conducting negotiations.

Kabiru Turaki heads the government committee charged with holding peace talks.

“We’ve had dialogue with those that are in detention, most of whom are critical members of the leadership of this group.  And then we’ve also had dialogue with those that are outside,” said Turaki.

Meanwhile, army spokesperson Brigadier-General Ibrahim Attahiru says troops continue to attack the militant group.

“Troops of the formation have conducted operations to preempt, dislocate and distract the insurgent activities in the northeast,” said Attahiru.

But last Thursday, the day after Attahiru made this announcement, more than 100 people were reported killed in Borno State, the birthplace of the insurgency. The following day, authorities reported a gunfight with Boko Haram members in the capital, Abuja, and said nine militants were killed.

Lack of clarity

Neighbors later told reporters it wasn’t Boko Haram members who were killed in the Abuja fight, but unarmed squatters.

Yusuf Yakubu Arrigasiyyu heads the Muslim League for Accountability. He says this lack of clarity is feeding the insurgency.

“This is serious for Nigeria.  That is how Boko Haram started in Maiduguri.  People were accused without any legal battle.  People were accused without any action from the government,” said Arrigasiyyu.

The result, he says, is accused persons - whether they are involved or not -- grow more sympathetic with Boko Haram, a group that has been blamed for thousands of deaths in the past four years in attacks on churches, schools, media houses, markets and government and international interests.

And more frightening than grassroots support for Boko Haram is who provides financial support for the group, says Umar Aliyu Fate, former director of National Orientation Agency, a government development project in Kaduna State.

“It is so active at the moment because of the people who must be behind the scenes sponsoring people in the name of Boko Haram.  Boko Haram is there because I believe there are people who are sustaining them.  Therefore if we get the right people and the right people come out, I think the issue of Boko Haram may not be there,” said Fate.

Fate doesn’t say who exactly are the right people, and politicians from every side have accused their rivals of supporting Boko Haram.

Dirty tactics

However, as 2015 elections approach, many Nigerians fear politicians from every side will support Boko Haram, or at least gangs of thugs that call themselves Boko Haram, to intimidate their opponents.

Engineering student Salias Daniel Bahagu sees dirty tactics ahead.

“I believe some of the politicians are the source of this Boko Haram so really they use these Boko Haram to attack some of their members,” said he.

Bahagu studies in Kaduna, where more than 800 people were killed in violence after the 2011 elections.  He says politicians in Nigeria regularly pay unemployed young men to battle for their side during election seasons, often with deadly consequences.
If they are now paying Boko Haram members, he said, who presumably are also mostly unemployed young men, the results could be more dangerous because Boko Haram members are much better armed.

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
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 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 Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid