February 20, 2012: Boko Haram violence has left nearly 300 people dead so far this year. Weeks of energetic police work has left thousands of civilians terrorized by raids and questions but has put several hundred suspected Boko Haram members in prison. Many of these raids yielded tangible evidence of Boko Haram activity and leads to other members of the group. A lot more is known about the Islamic terror group. But the government does not have a solution to the growing unrest, which is driven largely by the persistent corruption and government mismanagement.
The government is making yet another attempt to reduce corruption in the oil industry. New heads of the Oil Ministry and anti-corruption organization have been appointed. But many Nigerian oil companies are owned by prominent politicians, or such companies have politicians as major shareholders. It's generally agreed that what is needed most is transparency (audited financial records that are free for anyone to examine on the Internet). This is something the politicians and government oil bureaucrats always oppose, or sabotage, for obvious reasons. There is a lot of smoke about stopping corruption but not much fire.
The government is also trying to reform the national police, another shamefully corrupt institution. Newly appointed senior police officials are at least admitting that the force is in bad shape. That's a start. Meanwhile, the police, and other security service, are getting a lot more money (20 percent increase since 2010), in large part because of the growing Boko Haram violence.
February 19, 2012: A bomb went off near two Christian churches in central Nigeria (Suleja), wounding five people.
February 16, 2012: In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Boko Haram ambushed an army patrol, killing one soldier and wounding another. The shooting went on for an hour before the terrorists escaped.
February 15, 2012: In south-central Kogi State, at least 20 Boko Haram gunmen, travelling in eight vehicles, attacked Kogi Prison with dynamite and gunfire. At least one guard was killed and over 110 prisoners were set free. The raiders escaped with seven Boko Haram members that were held in the prison. Most of the local prisoners were recaptured in the next few days.
In the northeastern city of Maiduguri police found and defused a car bomb.
February 14, 2012: Information from cell phones seized from Boko Haram leader Kabiru Sokoto, and subsequent interrogation of Sokoto, found that Boko Haram had made secret alliances with several political, business, and tribal leaders. It also appears that Sokoto's escape in January was aided by corrupt cops. Sokoto is now being held by the less corrupt Special Forces (State Security Services). In fact, the SSS has increased security around Sokoto as the Boko Haram has revealed more details about how the Islamic terror organization operates.
In the central Nigerian city of Kaduna a policeman was killed by a roadside bomb.
February 13, 2012: Government investigators have traced Boko Haram funding to al Qaeda sources and Islamic charities in Britain and Saudi Arabia. Interrogations of arrested Boko Haram members and captured documents have provided a lot of information on how this terrorist group operates.
Off the coast near the Niger River Delta pirates attacked a bulk cargo ship. The gunfire killed the captain and chief engineer, but the rest of the crew made it to the safe room, where they stayed until police showed up. This was the second such unsuccessful pirate attack off the coast in a week.
In the northeastern city of Maiduguri troops fought an extended gun battle with dozens of armed Boko Haram. A dozen of the terrorists were killed. Meanwhile, a Boko Haram member called on cell phone companies to stop cooperating with police (to trace terrorists via their phones). Otherwise, the terrorist group will attack cell phone company facilities and personnel.
February 10, 2012: Police recaptured Boko Haram leader Kabiru Sokoto, who had escaped from custody a month ago (a day after he was arrested). This was Boko Haram's first major operation in the Christian south.
A Boko Haram spokesman said the group would be willing to negotiate with the government but only after arrested Boko Haram leaders were released from prison. The government refused this condition.
In the northeastern city of Maiduguri two bombs went off, killing four terrorists and wounding two soldiers.