Nigeria: A Cure Worse Than The Disease

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August 12, 2013: The growth of pro-government Moslem militias in the north is a severe blow to Boko Haram. The appearance of these vigilante groups should be no surprise, as the government has used them before when rebels or large scale criminal gangs began to lose their popular support because of all the violence and chaos. Even before the current military offensive, Boko Haram was attacking more and more Moslems up north to try and stem declining cooperation from civilians. Christians formed militias early on because they were one of the main targets of Boko Haram. As much as the Moslem civilians up north hate the government and all the corruption, they eventually came to regard Boko Haram as a cure worse than the disease. The government knew better than to give the militiamen guns, but they did provide some soldiers or police to accompany groups of vigilantes manning checkpoints or searching neighborhoods to keep the enthusiasm from morphing into criminal behavior. The way this plays out, hard core Boko Haram will insist on keeping up the violence and that will become more expensive for the terrorists because all those anti-terrorist militias and hostile civilians will make it difficult to carry out operations undetected and their losses will increase. Each successful terrorist attack increases anti-terrorist sentiment. It ends the way it always does, with lots of dead terrorists and much less terrorism. After that you have some of the militias turning into criminal gangs and leaving everyone worse off than when the terrorism began.

The government revealed that twelve soldiers and seven policemen have been killed so far this month in the northeast. The military has been successful finding large groups of Boko Haram. Increasingly the Islamic terrorists have to stick together because if they disperse they are vulnerable if recognized or simply suspected.

August 10, 2013: Acting on a tip soldiers in the northwest (Sokoto) raided a suspected Boko Haram hideout and made some arrests. There is much less Boko Haram activity in the northwest than in the northeast, and the people in the northwest want to keep it that way.

August 9, 2013: Armed bandits raided an Israeli owned fish farm in the southeast (Rivers state) and kidnapped four Thai and two Nigerian employees. This appears to be kidnapping for ransom, and the police are going after this incident in a big way because a growing number of foreign firms are leaving or refusing to consider investing in Nigeria because of the expanding use of kidnappings by criminals. Foreigners are the preferred victims because they usually mean a larger ransom.

August 5, 2013: In the northeast fighting broke out with Boko Haram along the Cameroon border and continued for two days. At least two towns up there were put under a 24 hour curfew so that security forces could do house-to-house searches for Islamic terrorists, weapons, and bomb making materials.

In the southwest (Ogun State) soldiers caught a gang of oil thieves in the act and arrested 28 of them. Many of the oil theft gangs that tap into pipelines are politically well connected and protected. But some gangs are not and others only have police, not military people, on the payroll. So arrests still get made.

August 4, 2013: In the northeast (Borno state) there were two major clashes with heavily armed Boko Haram, which left at least 35 of the Islamic terrorists dead (as well as several soldiers and police).

 

 

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