Nigeria: Boko Haram Extremely Offensive To Most Moslems

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November 14, 2014: The government is criticizing the United States for refusing to sell Nigeria AH-64 helicopter gunships. The U.S. refused because of Nigeria’s dismal track record maintaining and operating such equipment. The Americans also mentioned the tendency of Nigerian troops to kill lots of innocent civilians with such weapons. The U.S. also pointed out that similar weapons are available from other sources. The government was apparently more upset at the Americans openly discussing the corruption and lethal incompetence of the Nigerian military, something many Nigerians agree with but that the government insists does not exist. American military advisors have been urging the Nigerians to do more about the corruption and poor leadership in the military.

Another embarrassing trend for the military leadership is the increasing strength and capabilities of the officially recognized pro-government militias in the northeast. Officially called the Civilian JTF (Joint Task Force or CJTF), these volunteers receive little material support from the government. In early 2013 Boko Haram began to notice that in northeastern Borno and Yobe states thousands of Moslem and Christian young men were enthusiastically joining the CJTF to provide security from Boko Haram violence and provide information to the security forces about who Boko Haram members are and where they are living. In response Boko Haram openly declared war on CJTF members and threatened to come to their homes and kill them. Most CJTF members cover their faces while assisting the security forces. While the Boko Haram threat certainly terrified some CJTF men (who generally have no firearms), the leadership publicly defied the Islamic terrorists over the threats. The CJTF often operates with heavily armed police or soldiers nearby (ready to move in arrest Boko Haram suspects the vigilantes identify or fire back if Boko Haram attack). By the end of 2013 the army had begun to use the volunteers to replace troops at checkpoints. There are still some armed soldiers nearby, in case Boko Haram tries to attack the civilians, but this new policy has enabled more checkpoints to be set up and more through searches of vehicles to be conducted. This made it more difficult for Boko Haram to move around, plan and carry out attacks or to resupply the few men they still have in the cities. By the end of 2014 some CJTF groups were launching attacks on Boko Haram, and usually winning (because they knew the area and people better and often were able to launch a surprise attack at night). All this CJTF activity made Boko Haram very mad and ready to kill CJTF members whenever they had the chance. But because the CJTF have better information about their home areas, it’s difficult for Boko Haram to make revenge attacks. Another disturbing development is that in 2014 more CJTF men obtained weapons via the black market or captured from Boko Haram. It was not illegal for CJTF members to have firearms, but legal firearms are expensive and have to be registered. Rural people tend to ignore the rules and frequently use crude locally made one shot weapons for hunting or home defense. The army doesn’t care how the CJTF get weapons or that they have them. In some cases soldiers will unofficially help the CJTF get firearms, often from stuff captured from Boko Haram. This is sometimes done in defiance of their officers, who tend to regard such weapons as their own personal loot and will often take these weapons and sell them on the black market. While most civilians fear the army, they have more trust in and respect for the CJTF, who are usually local men they know. Boko Haram has far fewer admirers in the northeast as even Islamic conservatives up there see Boko Haram as heretical extremists who attack mosques and often kill worshippers. This is considered extremely offensive to most Moslems.

Religious and government leaders in the northeast are pleading with the government to send more troops to their area to deal with the growing Boko Haram violence. The government is reluctant to do so because duty in the northeast is unpopular with officers and troops and people in other parts of Nigeria will complain if troops are removed from their area. There is fear that Boko Haram violence will spread and no one wants to be left defenseless. Meanwhile the Boko Haram violence is ruining the economies of the north. Not just the three states (Borno, Yobe and Adamwa) hardest hit but adjacent states as well. Farmers are fleeing their land for the cities and that eliminates a lot of the normal food supply. Factories are shutting down and the government had to suspend development of oil and gas deposits in Lake Chad and operations run by foreign companies are withdrawing key (non-Nigerian) personnel over fear the Boko Haram will seek foreigners to kidnap and hold for ransom.

In the northeast (Adamawa state) over 13,000 Nigerians have fled to neighboring Cameroon since late October. Cameroon how hosts over 44,000 Nigerians. Over 700,000 Nigerians have fled their homes to escape Boko Haram violence. Nearly 3,000 have fled to Chad and several thousand to Niger. More than 100,000 have fled to other parts of Nigeria and several hundred thousand have fled to cities in the three northeastern states (Borno, Yobe and Adamwa) where Boko Haram is most active.

November 13, 2014: In the northeast (Yola state) several hundred Boko Haram raided and occupied the towns of Hong and Gombi.

November 12, 2014: In the northeast (Adamawa state) soldiers and pro-government militias liberated the town of Mubi. A Boko Haram leader was captured during the battle. Mubi has been attacked by Boko Haram several times since 2012. This time the local pro-government militias took the lead in attacking the Boko Haram in the town at night and driving them out.

November 10, 2014: In the north (Yobe state) a female Boko Haram suicide bomber, wearing a school uniform, set off her explosives in a high school assembly, killing 58 and wounding over 70 students and faculty.

November 9, 2014: Across the border in northwestern Cameroon Boko Haram made six attacks, killing at least three civilians. Soldiers repulsed the attacks and many of the Islamic terrorists fled back to Nigeria.

November 5, 2014: In the northeast (Borno state) several hundred Boko Haram raided the town of Malam Fatori. Although they initially overwhelmed the soldiers stationed there and killed 21 people, reinforcements quickly arrived and killed over 30 of the fleeing Islamic terrorists. The reinforcements were from an international force (with troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger) that was recently organized to protect the area. Many civilians fled the fighting and crossed the border into Niger. 

November 4, 2014: In the north (Gombe state) Boko Haram raided the town of Nafada, robbed a bank, destroyed a police station and attacked a Mosque (where they killed five people, including a cleric). Five soldiers and policemen also died. The raiders then travelled to a French owned cement plant (the largest in Nigeria) and stole dynamite and some trucks. They sought to kidnap some French citizens who ran the plant, but they, and most of the workforce, had fled. Both places were near the border with Yola state, which has been the scene of Boko Haram violence for years.

November 2, 2014: In the north (Kogi state) a group of armed men, believed to be Boko Haram, attacked a prison and released 132 of 145 inmates. One guard was killed and two wounded as the attackers used explosives and gunfire to get in and out. About 25 inmates were soon recaptured or turned themselves in. Boko Haram has freed over 2,200 inmates during attacks on prisons since 2009. There are 57,000 prisoners in 239 jails and prisons throughout Nigeria. Only 32 percent of the inmates have been convicted, the rest are awaiting trial.

In neighboring Yobe state two Boko Haram suicide bombers attacked a procession of Shia Moslems celebrating a religious event. Only one bomb went off, but it killed at least 23 people in a market place. Boko Haram is a Sunni group which, like most Sunni Islamic terrorists believes that Shia are heretics and must be killed.

November 1, 2014:  Boko Haram released a video on the Internet where they made it clear that there was never any ceasefire deal with the government the 200 or more kidnapped girls (most of them Christians) have converted to Islam and married Boko Haram fighters. Parents of these girls demand the government do something and the dozens of girls who have escaped, some after the forced conversion and marriages also call for a rescue effort.

In the south (Bayelsa state) the local chapter of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria declared a strike to protest the lack of police protection from the growing number of pirate attacks.  

October 30, 2014: In the northeast (Adamawa state) over a hundred Boko Haram attacked the towns of Mubi and Uba and forced thousands of residents to flee, some across the border into Cameroon. In Mubi the Islamic terrorists raised their black flag over the palace over a tribal leader and killed several people who worked at a nearby university.

October 27, 2014: In the northeast (Borno state) Boko Haram raided the village of Kukawa, near Lake Chad. The attackers burned down the market place, police station and a government building. Some cares were also set on fire. Police fought back but were outnumbered and retreated along with hundreds of villagers.

October 26, 2014: The government insisted that recent Boko Haram attacks had not jeopardized the ceasefire negotiated with the Islamic terrorists in mid-October.

 

 

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