Published On: Fri, Feb 24th, 2012

5 facts about Boko Haram

1. Who are they?

Their official name, Jama’atul Ahlu Sunna Lidda’Awati wal Jihad, or the People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad, illustrates this group’s primary focus as a center for resistance against the Nigerian government, and what many northern Nigerians see as the dominant role that Christian Nigerians play in Nigerian politics.
Many northerners nicknamed the group, Boko Haram, or “Western education is a sin” because of the group’s belief that Western influences in education, media, and values, have a corrupting effect on traditional Islamic societies.
Boko Haram draws its membership primarily from clerics, university students, and unemployed youth from the north.
It’s estimated that 70 percent of Nigerians live on less than $1.25 a day, but poverty is more prevalent up north (far from Nigeria’s oil fields and agricultural areas). Some 75 percent of northerners live in poverty, compared with 27 percent of southerners. The great disparity between haves and have-nots, between north and south, appears to be one major draw for recruitment.
Its original leader, Mohammad Yusuf, who founded the group in 2002, was killed in police custody in 2009. His former deputy, Abubakar bin Mohammad Shekau, now leads the organization.
While Boko Haram has about 300 fighters, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said in a recent report that “the extent of the violence (since 2009) showed that Boko Haram was capable of mobilizing thousands of people and was better trained and armed than government forces had thought.”
2. What do they want?
Many northerners have come to regard the Nigerian government as a failure, too corrupt to be trusted. While power has been shared with the main ruling party, rotating presidential candidates from north to south, most development and job creation occurs in the coastal south, and many northern Nigerians blame the powerful Christian southern elites for the neglect of development in the north.
In the late 1990s, northern politicians began pressing for the introduction of Islamic law in northern states. But Boko Haram leader Mohammad Yusuf played up disappointment with the implementation of sharia, saying that harsh sentences were meted out only to the poor, and not the corrupt elites.
So Boko Haram seeks a restoration of a caliphate, modeled after the Sokoto kingdom, over Nigeria.
3. What do they do?
Boko Haram initially carried out small attacks, but it hit the big time in July 2009, when it launched five days of attacks against churches and political leaders in the northern town of Maiduguri that left 700 people dead.
Boko Haram later organized a prison break in 2010, freeing 700 convicts, some of whom joined Boko Haram’s ranks.
Bombs killed 80 people in the northern city of Jos in Dec. 2010. Bombs exploded over several days in May 2011 following Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration as president. And an August 2011 bomb blast at UN headquarters in Abuja killed 24.
In June 2011, the group took credit for the suicide car bombing of the Nigerian police headquarters in Abuja in June 2011, saying in a statement that the attack was meant “to prove a point to all those who doubt our capability.”
4. Are they connected with Al Qaeda?
Boko Haram’s rhetoric and belief system certainly draws heavily from the Salafist-influenced beliefs of Al Qaeda, including the notion that Islam is in a fight for its survival against an economically powerful (but spiritually bankrupt) West.
Boko Haram’s shift to suicide bombs, from mere gun attacks, also suggests that the movement has recently increased its skill base and ambitions.
In the wake of the UN headquarters bombing in August 2011, Nigerian authorities said they believed the mastermind of the attack was a known Al Qaeda member, Mamman Nur, who they say had recently returned to Nigeria from Somalia. Security analysts believe that Nigeria’s intelligence community may have infiltrated Boko Haram, but they add it’s impossible to know how accurate their intelligence is.
US Gen. Carter Ham, commander for US military operations in Africa, told the Associated Press that there was evidence – not least of which being Boko Haram’s growing sophisticated techniques – that Boko Haram had begun to establish links with Al Qaeda’s affiliate in north Africa.
5. How are they funded?
For much of its history, funding was a non-issue for Boko Haram, since its weapons were readily available Kalashnikov rifles, and its members tended to live in local communities.
But now that Boko Haram has moved into the use of suicide bomb vests and car bombs, all of which require equipment, expertise, and planning, Boko Haram is likely to require cash.
US, Nigerian, and Algerian security experts suggest that money and technical support comes from Al   Qaeda affiliates in north Africa and the Somalia.
But some Nigerians point out that Boko Haram’s funding may come from local political elites, to further their own domestic agenda.
Boko Haram’s shift in tactics occurred roughly at the time that an increasingly ill northern-born President Umaru Yar’Adua ceded power to his Christian and southern-born vice president, Goodluck Jonathan, and some of Jonathan’s supporters charge that Boko Haram may be paid to serve the interests of northern Nigerian political elites, who want to undermine southern-born President Jonathan by making the country “ungovernable.”
In Nov. 2011, Nigerian police arrested a self-declared Boko Haram spokesman, who claimed to have received money from a northern Nigerian senator – oddly a member of Jonathan’s ruling party – for sending threatening messages to other politicians.
In Jan. 2012, Nigerian Senate President David Mark announced that “Those who are doing this are miscreants, misguided Nigerians, who are being sponsored obviously and if government knows who is sponsoring them, they must pick them out and deal with them once and for all, because we cannot condone it.”

Displaying 15 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. sodeinde daniel says:

    Boko haram are not sponsored locally,its obvious that they are connected to other terrorist group around the world

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  2. jamilu muhd says:

    For true believer of islam almighty Allah has decreed that the death of one innocent is equal to the death of humanity,QUR’AN:in chapter 5,verse 32

  3. Uche says:

    Anybody dat vowed to make nigeria ungovernable is d leader of boko haram or boko are ram

  4. Emmanuel AyoolA says:

    All of there comment is it reachs to be kilLings peoples like chickens,this peoples are confirm internationals train than local train,my believes is that is a mater of times will are going to forget all or captures all this Boko haram,in Jesus name amen.

  5. nas says:

    “Boko Haram initially carried out small attacks, but it hit the big time in July 2009, when it launched five days of attacks against churches and political leaders in the northern town of Maiduguri that left 700 people dead” this is pure bullshit get your facts right before writing stuffs till date no church has been attacked by boko haram in maiduguri the state capital ask the xtians over there they will confirm that its true.

  6. MEND/ bokoharam belongs to GEJ It’s just bcos u don’t know 9ja.

    • daniel jacob elaigwu says:

      @Abubakar Gidado, If Boko Haram belong to GEJ the southerner, set up northerner to destroy the North, then we northerner are fool.

      • Did u know them Bokoharam? &why dose the group constitutes both musl/christ?

      • sh04 says:

        what does it take to coerce or confuse a man to do his bidding? And for every life style one chooses you’ll always find someone ready to follow you. And believe me financial inducement plays major role in any decision making. That tells why our politicians are killing themselves for political post.

  7. dankwanyawa says:

    hmmmmmm i alway wonda y diz newz updt ar nt doin judgement wit justice and just in her analysis and in her so many newz connectin d issues ov either boko haram or rlgion in d country. Where ar u when diz sect kils imams in 2009 in d same maiduguri u ar talkin about and ask if don’t knw in joz hw many muslim were kill by christian ar de nt d founder ov all diz problems in d country, plz b objective in making ur analysis dn’t ever b subjective b’coz we ar nt fools.

  8. Flair says:

    Bokoharam is an ill wind dat blows nobody any gud. Its only a matter of tym 4 those who killed by bombin 2 die by bombin. God help us

  9. Nura Alhassan says:

    We all can tell this report is fll of lies, it’s a shame how a media will broadcast sentimental issues emerging the report that that says in 2009 the group lunch attack on churches in Maiduguri and also the attacks are as a result of demise of late Yaradua. Well thank god it all started during the Yaradua’s administration not GEJ. The west told us they get their finances from foreign terrorist groups not Northern politicians, then why is Nigerian government saying otherwise, is it to unite or devide us. To all you southerners who fell we the north are not important to the unity of the country should kiss their asses because we are not afraid of dis integration. The end of united Nigeria will be the beginning of highly transformed North. Remember what you get as revenue from federation account is 3 times more than what Northern Nigeria is receiving but yet we tend to use our money more justifiably than you. If you choose unity we are down with it and if you choose otherwise it’s also ok. Enought is enought!!!

  10. Who is boko haram btw xtians & muslim

  11. Ajayi Sunday Joseph says:

    BoKo HAram is a political tool use by some group ogba people who think the power should be with them for life. Give them power, BoKo HAram and its activities will stop

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