Nigeria: We Know Where Your Family Lives

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May 16, 2013: Boko Haram is making a major effort to get more cash via extortion, kidnapping, and theft. The money is spent on weapons easily smuggled across the borders with Cameroon, Chad, and Niger in the north. Weapons are cheap at the moment because of stolen government stuff still arriving from Libya and al Qaeda Islamic terrorists fleeing Mali, eager to unload weapons they got out with for cash, so they can seek sanctuary somewhere. Boko Haram still has plenty of new recruits, as increased army and police activity in the north, in addition to Boko Haram attacks, has done a lot of economic damage and increased the unemployment rate. Both Boko Haram and the security forces are fighting a dirty war. Boko Haram deliberately hunts down and kills government officials (especially local police, prison staff, border guards, and the like). Soldiers and police are quick to pick anyone suspected (often with very little evidence) of being a member of Boko Haram or a sympathizer and later killing them.

More armed members enable Boko Haram to enforce more of their lifestyle rules. For example, in Borno state Boko Haram has, so far this year, forced the closure of 30 percent of the secular schools in the state. Boko Haram has gone from setting fire to schools at night to attacking them during the day and murdering teachers.

The government continues to have financial problems. The main source of cash for the government is oil royalties. But violence, corruption, and theft have cut oil production in the Niger River Delta some 30 percent in the last eight years and the decline continues.

May 15, 2013: Another 2,000 soldiers have been sent to the northern city of Maiduguri, which has long been the center of Boko Haram strength. More roadblocks are being established and more raids conducted in neighborhoods suspected of harboring Boko Haram. The problem is that most police and soldiers still use the same old tactics of rounding up young men and killing them because they might be Boko Haram members. This just angers more northerners and makes it easier for Boko Haram to recruit.

May 14, 2013: The government declared a state of emergency in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. This is a form of martial law and makes it even easier for the security forces to do whatever they want. The state of emergency also allows the federal government to temporarily replace elected and appointed government officials. The three states affected are where most Boko Haram violence has been taking place.

In central Nigeria (Kaduna and Benue states) continued violence between Christians and Moslems left at least 23 dead.

May 13, 2013: Boko Haram admitted that it is now deliberately kidnapping the wives and children of government officials (from jail guards to senior officials) to either force cooperation or just to obtain a lot of cash. With this tactic Boko Haram hopes to eventually be able to use the threat of kidnapping to force judges, prosecutors, and security force commanders to back off from going after the Islamic terrorists. Kidnapping, especially when families of corrupt officials are attacked, is popular with most Nigerians, as these thieves always seem to be able to buy their way out of prosecution for their crimes.

May 12, 2013: Boko Haram kidnapped the wife and daughter of a Supreme Court judge. This took place in southern Edo State (Benin City). The same judge had a son kidnapped last September and paid $190,000 to get him freed.

 

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