News / Africa

Nigeria's Boko Haram Threatens Broader Attacks

Members of emergency services work at the scene of an explosion at a police station after a suspected suicide bomber was killed and many vehicles were destroyed in Abuja, June 16, 2011
Members of emergency services work at the scene of an explosion at a police station after a suspected suicide bomber was killed and many vehicles were destroyed in Abuja, June 16, 2011
Anne Look

Nigerian security forces are cracking down on the militant Islamic group Boko Haram, which claimed responsibility for Thursday's bombing in Abuja. Nigerian authorities and analysts say the extremist group, once confined to the country's northeast, is becoming a nationwide security threat. 

The explosion struck the parking lot of a police station in the capital Thursday, killing at least two people and wounding several others. The blast, which is believed to be Nigeria's first suicide bombing, was so powerful it destroyed 30 cars and damaged dozens more.   

The attack came less than 24 hours after the Inspector General of Police declared Boko Haram's days were "numbered."    

A spokesman for Boko Haram told VOA the bombing marked the collapse of any efforts at dialogue with the government.  

Spokesman Usman Alzawahiri says his group is going to attack the entire north and other parts of the country, including the capital, Abuja. He says Boko Haram personnel just returned from Somalia and have been scattered throughout the north.  He says security agencies should prepare for intensified attacks, and he advises all Nigerians to be wary.

Visiting the bomb site Sunday, President Goodluck Jonathan called the bombing a terrorist attack that targeted not just the police, but all Nigerians.

Despite Boko Haram's recent claims to ties with violent Islamists in Somalia, security analysts say the group remains a homegrown insurgency with decidedly internal aims, at least for now.   

Africa analyst and former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, said the bombing marked a troubling, though not unexpected, expansion for the group.   

"Boko Haram is morphing from being a marginal, very violent, radical Islamic sect into something approaching an insurrection that has some popular acquiescence, if not support," said Campbell. "And what the bombing in Abuja would indicate to me is that it is demonstrating that it can operate outside of the core north."  

Boko Haram launched a brief uprising against the government in July 2009, sparking a heavy military response and a week of fighting that killed about 700 people.  

Authorities have since blamed the group for a string of bombings and deadly attacks targeting police officers, government officials and religious leaders in Nigeria's north.  

The group's name in the Hausa language means, "Western education is a sin." It seeks to undermine state authority and calls for the stricter application of sharia, or Islamic law, in northern Nigeria.  

The secretary-general of the Supreme Islamic Council of Nigeria, Lateef Adegbite, said the roots of, what he called, Boko Haram's rebellion against the state lie in economic hardship and unemployment, not religion.   

He called for dialogue and the adoption of the "carrot and stick" approach proposed by President Jonathan earlier this month.   

"Use carrots to attract them, give them jobs, empower them economically, those who are ready to embrace peace. But those who are not for peace, apply the stick against them," Adegbite said. "Let them be flushed out so that the more moderate ones can take control."   
Former ambassador Campbell said Boko Haram is a symptom of not only extreme poverty in the north, but also a sense of alienation from the central government in Abuja.  

In this sense, Campbell says parallels can be drawn to the militants in the country's oil-rich Niger Delta who demand a more equal share of the wealth generated the region.

"In the north and in the delta, there is a fundamental sense of grievance against the government in Abuja," he said. "The difference, of course, is that in the delta, so far as I can tell, Jonathan won the elections absolutely hands down, whereas in the north, he did not."  

When it comes to Boko Haram, he said, Mr. Jonathan's government needs to build that support in the north and address not only the violence, but also its root causes.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More