News report my a hidden camera and reporting team from the Nigerian north-eastern city of Maiduguri in Borno State. Maiduguri is the stronghold of Islamist insurgents Boko Haram. It demonstrates just how hard it is to fight Boko Haram. People are reluctant to give information to the security forces as they do not know whether their friends or neighbours are Boko Haram members or supporters.
The federal government sent in an army unit called the Joint Task Force (JTF). The JTF has had training in counter-terrorism and urban warfare. It is fighting a very unconventional war, and Boko Haram’s habit of blending into the civilian population makes it hard for the JTF to distinguish Boko Haram members from ordinary civilians.
The JTF’s allegedly heavy handed tactics and heavy shootouts with Boko Haram are angering some and leading to sympathy for Boko Haram. The JTF has declared a dusk to dawn curfew, and banks, shops and businesses close early in fear of the violence.
Mali, Nigeria et al. Islamic militancy seems to be rising in the Sahelian/west African region. What is behind this phenomenon?
Great video by Sahara TV interviewing Al-Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege who visited Maiduguri in Borno State. Due to Boko Haram activities in the the state’s , and the Joint Task Force’s (JTF) heavy presence, the state has been heavily militarised.
While residents welcome the JTF’s presence, daily life has been badly affected with normal routine civilian life being heavily disrupted by fighting between Boko Haram and the JTF, JTF curfews between 9pm and 6am. However residents are so frightened that they do not leave their homes before 11am since gun battles between the JTF and Boko haram tend to rage in the early morning.
Some residents also accuse the JTF of indiscriminately arresting civilians whom they suspect of being Boko Haram members, and of summarily executing suspects. In their defence, the JTF say it is next to impossible for them to distinguish civilians from Boko Haram members since Boko Haram members might live with family members who are not members.
A series of articles, videos and programmes on Boko Haram outlining the group’s aims and origins. Boko Haram was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf (who was captured and killed by Nigerian security forces). Yet the group continues to attack, bomb and kill targets including churches, Nigerian police officers and soldiers, and other targets. What does Boko Haram want?
Although the group is referred to in common parlance as “Boko Haram”, it calls itself by an Arabic phrase “jama’atu ahlis sunna lidda’awati wal-jihad”, which translates to “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”. It believes Nigeria is being ruled by non-believers (even when the country was governed my a Muslim President – Umaru Yar’Adua), and is against western education, dress and modern science.
The rise of Boko Haram:
Nigerian Churches say Boko Haram attacks are a “declaration of war”:
Two bomb blasts have been reported during Christmas service in Nigeria. The first blast was near at a Catholic church near the Nigerian capital Abuja. Reports say about 20 people were killed.
The first blast was near St Theresa’s Church in Madalla. A second explosion struck the Mountain of Fire Ministries church in the city of Jos.
Attention will inevitably be focused on Boko Haram. Were they responsible for the latest bomb blasts?
Fascinating programme about the Quran, and the life of the Prophet Mohammed. Great viewing for believers, atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Christians and Jews alike. Very interesting perspectives on war, Jihad, and the writing of the Koran.
A lot has been said and done about the controversial plans to build a Mosque near Ground Zero. See interviews below with the man behind the plan: Imam Feisal Rauf.
Also see the interviews below about the controversial plan to burn Korans in commemoration of the 9th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.