Nigeria: Involuntary Martyrs

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October 8, 2013: Although Boko Haram has suffered heavy losses (in personnel, weapons, and equipment) over the last few months the Islamic terrorists have managed to keep killing and terrorizing people in the three northeastern states where they are most active. The heavy police and military presence in the area has driven the Islamic terrorists from the cities, but now Boko Haram seems intent on disrupting rural life and the roads that connect the major urban areas. All this has disrupted the economy and the daily lives of millions.

The continuing Boko Haram attacks have concentrated on schools, leaving over seventy teachers and a hundred students dead and at least a hundred schools destroyed. Most of this damage has been done in the last few months. This has caused over ten-thousand students to be taken out of school and over a thousand teachers have quit and seek other careers or move out of the area to take a teaching job in a safer area. Boko Haram has also attacked mosques where there is a lot of anti-Boko Haram activity, in an effort to get Islamic clergy that preach against Islamic terrorism to shut up. All this terrorism has had the desired effect on the people in the northeast, making everyone afraid. But many are either quietly informing on the Islamic radicals or joining self-defense and vigilante organizations.

Boko Haram has lost most of the public support it once had and is at war with the people it claims to serve. Many northern Moslems still want less corruption and government incompetence but have come to see the Boko Haram approach as a cure that is worse than the disease. Meanwhile, Boko Haram continues to attract that small percentage of fanatic young men you find in any population. Boko Haram is now forced to use terror to get civilians to cooperate. A nasty side effect of this is a casual attitude towards civilian casualties. Moslem women and children killed in the course of terrorist operations were called "involuntary martyrs" and usually no effort is made to apologize or compensate their families. In most cultures this sort of behavior is considered impolite, and this has not gone over well in the Moslem world at large. Few Boko Haram leaders are able or willing to cope with this popular view of the Islamic radicals being killers and unfeeling brutes. Some senior leaders understand that these thuggish attitudes have to change, but no one has yet come up with a practical way to get it done. It’s not just the many civilian deaths but the inability of Boko Haram leaders to understand the importance of efficiently governing areas they control. It is not enough to impose law and order and Islamic law, you also had to take care of basics like water supplies and sanitation. Ignoring this means that Islamic rule would never last long. This pattern has repeated itself time and again in the last decade and the end result is always growing public rejection of the Islamic radicals who are doing it all “for the people.”

While Nigerian Moslems have turned against Boko Haram, local Christians (half the population, most living in the south where the oil is) have hated Boko Haram from the beginning and are striving mightily to prevent large scale anti-Moslem violence. Boko Haram is quite vocal about its desire to drive all Christians out of the north and force all Nigerian Christians to become Moslems, on pain of death. So far Christian politicians and religious leaders have managed to prevent large scale anti-Moslem violence, but if Boko Haram is able to pull off a few more attacks that produce a lot of dead Christians that might change.

October 6, 2013: In the northeast (Borno state) soldiers pursued Boko Haram gunmen and soon caught up with some of them them. Air force aircraft spotted a Boko Haram convoy and attacked it. Also found was one of the remote camps attackers were operating from. This was bombed from the air and ground troops followed up. All this left about thirty Islamic terrorists dead, although some also got away. Boko Haram losses were heavy in terms of vehicles, weapons, and equipment.

October 5, 2013: In the northeast (Borno state) Boko Haram gunmen attacked a mosque, killing seven worshippers. Nearby soldiers soon arrived, went after the fleeing Boko Haram men, and caught up with them. The ensuing gun battle left about twenty Islamic terrorists dead, although some also got away.

October 3, 2013: In the northeast (Yobe and Borno states) troops seeking the Boko Haram men who recently attacked a college campus (and killed fifty students and faculty) killed a few armed men and arrested fifteen suspected Boko Haram members. Also captured were weapons and several bombs, which were later destroyed by engineers (by detonating them a safe distance from anyone).

 

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