Click the link below for an excellent interactive map and timeline/summaries (produced by Al-Jazeera) of Boko Haram attacks going back to 2009 when President Yar’Adua was still in power. http://webapps.aljazeera.net/aje/custom/2014/bokoharamtimeline/index.html
Audio interview with journalist Alex Perry who was researched and written about Boko Haram for a long time. Perry alleges that there is no coherent plan to Boko Haram’s attacks, and that it is just violence for the sake of it.
Perry saw a gruesome video of Boko Haram members beheading a hostage and gives his analysis of the groups’s actions.
Good reports on how Boko Haram has infiltrated into Nigeria’s neighbour Cameroon. Boko Haram allegedly take advantage of the huge border between Nigeria and Cameroon to go backwards and forwards between both countries to recruit members and stage attacks.
Locals in Cameroon claim that Boko Haram members quickly bury their dead who are killed in attacks to prevent them from being identified.
One of the most tragic ironies is that thousands of Nigerians have fled from Nigeria into its poorer, smaller, less resourced neighbour Cameroon.
Great interview with former Abia State Governor Uzor Orji Kalu, who is also also a billionaire and one of Nigeria’s richest men. Kalu is a friend of other Nigerian billionaires such as Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga. Kalu has offered to negotiate with Boko Haram and claims the security challenge of Boko Haram could result in Goodluck Jonathan being Nigeria’s last ever president:
“There was a time when news of bombing and terrorism was synonymous to countries like Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. Nigeria is now at that point. We are now like those countries. This is what we have become. If care is not taken, Goodluck Jonathan would be the last president we’ve had in this country.”
This is a video clip of Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh where he said the military knows where the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls are being held. Badeh was addressing a live crowd of demonstrators in Abuja. Excerpts from what he said:
“The good for the girls is we know where they are but we cannot tell you. We cannot come and tell you military secrets here. Just leave us alone – we are working. We will get the girls back…We have Al Qaida in west Africa. I believe it 100%… People from outside Nigeria are in this war. They are fighting us. They wants to destablise our country, and some people in this country are standing with the forces of darkness. No! We must salvage our country.”
Survivors of Boko Haram attacks give terrifying testimony of their ordeal. One of them is Adamu Habila, who survived a Boko Haram attack and being shot in the head. Adamu was shot for refusing to renounce his Christian faith.
The second survivor is 15 year old Deborah Peter from Chibok. She survived a Boko Haram attack on her home in Chibok. Her father (a pastor) and brother were attacked in front of her in her home.
The Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction and forced conversions to Islam are not new. Boko Haram has been kidnapping young women and girls as “slave brides” for some time and forcing them to convert to Islam. Thus the “conversion video” that Boko Haram released last week should be seen as part of its normal modus operandi rather than a new tactic.
Economist article on the latest government and army proposals to fight Boko Haram. The government seems to be trying everything: military force, negotiations with Boko Haram, an amnesty, and finally – a long overdue campaign to provide counselling to Boko Haram members and get Imams to give them non-violent interpretations of the Koran.
Nigeria’s National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki outlines the government’s new ideas for combating Boko Haram. The plan focuses on economic development and job creation, as a means of drying up poverty and recruits for Boko Haram.
After President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe, army troop reinforcements have begun arriving in northern cities such as Maiduguri and Yola.
It is a long overdue move and I am surprised it took the President this long to declare a state of emergency. The state of emergency means that the army can take greater responsibility for security in those three states. Troops can occupy city centers, take over buildings, and arrest and detain suspects without trial. Two incidents seemed to have tipped the balance in favour of the state of emergency:
1) Boko Haram nonchalantly dismissed the President’s offer of an amnesty. By doing so, Boko Haram seemed to declare its intention to settle its scores with the government on the battlefield, rather than via dialogue. It seems that President dialogue is now ready to meet them on a battlefield rather than in a conference room.
2) The recent Baga attacks which left hundreds of people dead marked a new deadly escalation in the conflict with Boko Haram.
Although Boko Haram has launched attacks across the north and as far south as the capital in Abuja, the three north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in the Kanuri heartland, represent Boko Haram’s support base. It has taken over at least one-third of the local government areas in Borno state. Losing control of its own territory to a terrorist organisation seems to have been the last straw for the government. President Jonathan accused Boko Haram of declaring war against Nigeria.
Excerpts from the President’s national broadcast announcing the state of emergency:
Innocent civilians are likely to be caught in the inevitable shoot-outs between the army and Boko Haram. There are reports that Boko Haram has been forcefully conscripting new members, and threatening them with death if they do not kill in the group’s name within weeks of joining.
Nonetheless the state of emergency will be popular among the general Nigerian population. Many have accused the President of being weak and of treating Boko Haram with kid gloves. This state of emergency will boost his security credentials and demonstrate a willingness to forcefully confront Boko Haram.
Even if the troop surge proves successful, it would offer only temporary respite. Boko Haram can easily slip across the border into neighbouring countries, regroup, and return. Only a long term political and economic solution can permanently end Boko Haram’s violent insurgency.
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.