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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid