Nigeria: Fire In The North

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December 24, 2011:  In the north, fighting continued in Maiduguri and Damaturu as police seek to find more Boko Haram hideouts and capture or kill more of the Islamic terrorists. Boko Haram has suffered a major defeat with the loss of several bases but the Islamic radicals are scrambling to recover. The widespread Boko Haram violence in the last two weeks has made the Islamic radicals appear to be a public menace, which the police exploit to get more tips from the public. Boko Haram prefers to cultivate the image of rebels against a corrupt government and society. While most Nigerians support that, they are put off by the seemingly random violence and all the dead civilians. But as long as there are enough young Nigerian men willing to join Boko Haram the violence will continue. The Islamic radical group raises money by demanding payment from businesses for "protection" from attack, along with voluntary donations. Unless the government can do something about the corruption and inept government this war will go on for a while. Government officials say they understand this dynamic but doing something about it may prove very difficult. That's because many Nigerians openly acknowledge that the pervasive corruption and incompetent government are a major source of unrest, yet attempts to deal with these two problems are constantly frustrated.

In the Niger River Delta, police are finding many rebels who had accepted amnesty had gone on to become gangsters. Those responsible for the increased number of robberies and kidnappings are often these amnestied rebels. Police are going into old rebel bases and hideouts and finding hundreds of weapons that were not surrendered during the amnesty, or have been obtained after the amnesty.

December 23, 2011: Fighting continued in the northeastern town of Damaturu, leaving over 20 dead.

December 22, 2011: In northeastern Yobe State (on the Niger border) police found and attacked a main base of Boko Haram in the town of Damaturu. The battle killed 59 terrorists, along with three soldiers. Elsewhere in the northeast, clashes with Boko Haram left another 19 dead.

December 19, 2011: In the northern city of Kano, police received a tip which led to the discovery of a Boko Haram bomb building workshop and the arrest of four Boko Haram members. The four had recently come to Kano to carry out a bombing campaign.

December 17, 2011: In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, an accidental explosion in a Boko Haram bomb building workshop left at least three terrorists dead. In the northern city of Kano, three police raids resulted in the arrest of 14 suspected members of Boko Haram. In one raid there was a gun battle that left four terrorists and three policemen dead. The raids captured large quantities of weapons, ammunition, documents, and bomb making materials. Boko Haram has apparently shifted dozens of men to Kano, along with a lot of weapons, with the intention of launching a lot of terror attacks. This violence is not popular with the public, leading to tips given to the police from civilians. The subsequent raids have done a lot of damage to the terrorists.

December 16, 2011: In northern Kano, fifteen Boko Haram gunmen attacked an Air Force College on the outskirts of the city, killing four air force personnel. There was another attack in the city that left two policemen dead.

December 13, 2011: The government proposes to spend $5.6 billion in the next year to deal with Boko Haram, as well as the remaining rebels in the Niger Delta area.

 

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