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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid