Attrition: The Black Mans' Burden

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March 7, 2015: In 2014 there were many wars in Africa, but the bloodiest one, in terms of civilian deaths, was in Nigeria, where an Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, has been trying to establish a religious dictatorship in the Moslem north of the country, to eventually include all of Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. Estimates of the deaths attributable to Boko Haram in 2014 range from 6,000 to 10,000. Either one makes Boko Haram the cause of at least half the deaths in the various wars going on in sub-Saharan Africa in 2014. These include Nigeria, CAR (Central African Republic), South Sudan, Somalia and Congo.

Overall deaths from wars is much higher for many countries. The fighting in Congo and Somalia have been going on for over twenty years while South Sudan was at peace for a while before a civil war between the leading tribes (who supplied most of the gunmen and leaders for decades of rebellion that led to the formation of South Sudan in 2011). This civil war began in December 2013 and is still going on. CAR has been in a state of chaos for decades but a victory for the rebels in 2013 but within a year another civil war broke out. Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991 and since 2012 a new one has slowly come into power. There is still some fighting with Islamic terrorists (al Shabaab) which was defeated but not destroyed.

Only the Boko Haram war is getting worse, in part because Boko Haram now models itself on ISIL, the murderous breakaway al Qaeda faction that is tearing Syria and Iraq apart. That has attracted the attention of the countries bordering Nigeria who have, with Nigeria, formed a coalition to fight Boko Haram and, at the very least, keep the violence from spreading beyond Nigeria.

 


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