Showing posts from March, 2014

To Beat Boko Haram: Plan for a Long War

Northeastern Nigeria is currently in the grip of a bloody insurgency by a group called Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad), but more widely known as Boko Haram (BH). ‘Western education is forbidden’ in Hausa - the lingua franca in northern Nigeria. The name by which the group is widely known reflects their stridently anti-western ideology.

Though said to have been founded in 2002 by a man called Mohammed Yusuf, the group shot to national prominence in July 2009 when its attempted uprising was crushed in of days in an army crackdown which left hundreds dead - both militants and civilians. Many of these were killed extra-judicially, including Mohammed Yusuf. After a year-long lull to recuperate and regain strength, the group staged a comeback under the deputy - Abubakar Shekau – who had survived the violent crackdown. By the end of 2010, what started as a challenging law enforcement problem had…