Nigeria: A Tragic Situation Gets Worse

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October 30, 2013: There are still dozens of Boko Haram camps in rural areas of the northeast. Some of these camps host over a hundred men. Most of the Boko Haram men are armed and are local Nigerians, but there are also men from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. Most Nigerians there are volunteers but some are coerced (usually by kin but sometimes just by other members of the mosque they pray at). While most Moslems in the north have turned against Boko Haram, because of the large number of civilians being killed by the terrorists, the idea of armed uprising to “defend Islam” still appeals to many men. It’s mostly young men but even some older married men are attracted to the terror group. The government has been corrupt and inefficient for over half a century and that shows no sign of changing. Most of the local officials are just as corrupt but are still seeking to make deals with Boko Haram to protect themselves, their families, and their stolen fortunes. Even a few Boko Haram have turned out to be corrupt, but compared to the government (and if you leave aside the terror and mass murder) the Boko Haram are far more virtuous. The way this sort of thing plays out is the Islamic radicals become more and more unpopular as the terrorism becomes worse. Boko Haram has already reached the point where they are using more terror than persuasion to keep the local Moslems in line. That has led to more young men joining pro-government or vigilante groups. The government does not officially arm these anti-Boko Haram groups and security forces tend to look the other way when their civilian allies get violent against Boko Haram. But these militias will get weapons and provide a power base for some new warlords. Some of these armed groups will end up fighting the security forces, if only to try and protect themselves and their families from the random violence the army and police are infamous for. Government efforts to change police and army attitudes towards civilians casualties have not worked very well. None of the likely endings for the situation in the north are positive. No wonder a growing number of Nigerians just want to get out of the country.  

October 29, 2013: President Johnson visited Israel. This was partly a religious pilgrimage but also an opportunity to meet with Israeli officials and ask for help in dealing with Boko Haram terrorism. Israel and Nigeria have long cooperated on security issues and Israel has provided training and equipment. There is also growing trade between the two countries. The problem in Nigeria is mostly beyond Israeli ability to help. That’s because the main problem is corruption and inefficient government.

October 26, 2013: In the north (Borno state) Boko Haram ambushed a police patrol, killed the four policemen and drove away in the police vehicles into the Sambisa Game Forest (a large nature reserve near the Cameroon border that is known to contain several Boko Haram camps).

October 25, 2013: In the north (Borno state) the army attacked several rural camps of the Boko Haram and killed at least seventy-four of the Islamic terrorists.

The army announced that it is expanding its strength about 10 percent by recruiting 9,000 more troops. The army is stretched quite thin with its peacekeeping duties outside the country, fighting oil theft in the Niger Delta, and now battling Islamic terrorists in the northeast.

October 24, 2013: In the north the army declared a 24 hour curfew for Yobe state as troops sought out Boko Haram gunmen. This came after hundreds of Boko Haram men attacked the state capital. After a five hour battle the attackers were repulsed. At least 95 Boko Haram were killed, along with 23 soldiers, and 8 policemen. Four police stations suffered heavy damage. Several civilians were believed to have been killed by the heavy gunfire and many more wounded.

Off the coast pirates attacked a ship and took two of the officers (both Americans) ashore to hold for ransom.

October 21, 2013: In the north (Borno state) troops searching for Boko Haram camps in rural areas clashed with Boko Haram gunmen several times, killing at least 37 of the Islamic terrorists. At the same time Boko Haram attacked two villages and killed 10 civilians, including members of local defense militias. The pro-government volunteers provide the army and police with information on Boko Haram activities, and the Islamic terrorists have been retaliating by attacking the villages the volunteers come from. This is meant to create public pressure on the volunteers to cease their anti-Boko Haram activity.

October 20, 2013: In the north (Borno state) Boko Haram men wearing uniforms set up fake checkpoints along main roads and killed at least 19 civilians. Some were shot but most were killed with knives or machetes.

 

 

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