In August 2016, Boko Haram split as a result of the internal divisions surrounding the succession of militant Abubakar Shekau as leader of the group, and a debate over whether Muslim civilians can be targeted.
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Interviews with former Boko Haram members suggest many initially joined for strategic reasons, not religious ones: for example, in order to get business support or as a result of frustration with government inadequacy.
Africa Research Associate Mike Rettig speaks with CBC Radio on the regional dimension of the Boko Haram problem. His segment begins at 15:33. – Listen to the interview – – Read the transcript –
Regional forces have begun to constrain Boko Haram, but tensions and a lack of coordination have hampered progress. On Capitol Hill, Africa Center Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Raymond Gilpin dissects the issue.
Asymmetric Warfare: Reflections on the Responses of Security Forces to Boko Haram Insurgency in Northern Nigeria
The Nigerian government has undertaken a range of actions to combat Boko Haram’s asymmetric insurgency in the country’s northeast: roadblocks, raids, surveillance, patrols, and deradicalization. Nearly all have followed an enemy-centric rather than population-centric approach, despite the fact that many of the factors constraining success are tied directly to the security forces’ operational capacity. For instance, poor coordination, inability to effectively deliver appropriated funds and equipment, enemy penetration, and porous borders all hindered successful counter-enemy actions. However, if Nigeria had instead emphasized a population-centric approach to counterinsurgency, it is possible that such efforts would not have faced as many headwinds.
Part 1: Identity Part 2: Faultlines Part 3: Extremism Part 4: Boko Haram Part 5: Strategies for combating extremism Part 6: Military professionalism Part 7: Maritime security Part 8: Governance Boko Haram emerged in 2002 in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in Nigeria’s Northeast Region. Initially organized as a sect under the leadership of... Continue Reading
The multifaceted nature of militant groups in northern Nigeria such as Boko Haram, as well as a lack of clear understanding of the factors that drive regional extremism, reflects larger aspects of Nigeria’s struggle for unity, a panel of scholars told the audience at a roundtable organized by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on... Continue Reading
Support for Boko Haram among some of northern Nigeria’s marginalized Muslim communities suggests that security actions alone will be insufficient to quell the instability.
Increased attacks from militant Islamist groups in the Sahel coupled with cross-border challenges such as trafficking, migration, and displacement have prompted a series of regional and international security responses.
From Boko Haram to farmer-herder conflicts, ethno-religious tensions, separatist movements, urban crime, and national identity, Nigeria experts size up the security priorities facing the Buhari government in its second term.
The struggle to institutionalize legitimate and resilient democracies in Africa will be further shaped by the 2019 elections – with direct consequences for security.
Declines in violent activity linked to Boko Haram and al Shabaab are balanced by increases in the Sahel, generating a mixed picture of the challenge posed by militant Islamist groups in Africa.