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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid