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.
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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
Boko Haram has been able to conduct its operations largely due to its ability to recruit young men. This recruitment is spurred by poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and weak family structures that make young men susceptible to radicalization. Extreme religious teachings by imams act as the final stimulus. The Nigerian government should address the conditions that... 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
A surge in large-scale attacks over the past year by Nigerian Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram presents a serious threat to stability in West Africa’s most populous state and the world’s sixth largest oil exporter. The group has successfully expanded its geographic reach, mastered new sophisticated tactics, and targeted symbols of international presence in Nigeria.... Continue Reading
Despite their shortcomings, African peace operations have saved lives, built security sector capacity, and helped mitigate conflict—reducing pressure on international actors to become directly involved.
Program materials for the Africa Center's 2017 National Counterterrorism Strategies in Africa program. Click here for syllabus, bios, readings, and slides.
A review of violent events involving militant Islamist groups in Africa over the past year reveals a mixed picture, with some groups showing increased activity and others diminished. This variance underscores the importance of local factors affecting each context.
Program materials for the 2017 Africa's Contemporary Security Challenges program. Click here for readings, slides, and video of presentations.