|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Violence Islam Terrorism Social issue|
Boko Haram is the top ten deadliest modern terrorist organizations not only in West Africa or Africa but also in the world. Although the movement claims to embrace the Islamic religion, it has led to the brutal killing of more than 15,000 people along the borders of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad, Niger. The organization's operations have left millions of people, regardless of religion, age, or gender to hunger, and severe health conditions as the region continuously experience precarity. While intervening to eradicate the group, the Nigerian police and military forces have killed many civilians alongside a small number of the alleged group. This information informs about the principle, rhetoric, theories, and interventions on Boko Haram.
Principles of Boko Haram
Empirical evidence shows that Boko Haram began operations at Maiduguri city in northeastern Nigeria during the onset of 2000. As the group grew, it sends mixed reactions in terms of increased hostilities and attracting support by arguing that Islam or haram (in Hausa and Arabic) does not allow the western education system or Boko as they call it in Hausa. In this setting, the name of this organization stands for the Western system of education is illegal in Islam. Boko Haram perceives that Western culture is the majority's corrupt system of existing secular government, multiparty democracy, and artificial laws. As a result, it sees these institutions as both anti-Islamic and un-Islamic. This situation has therefore created the impression that Islamic leaders who embrace western education, systems of government, or human-made laws are also the enemies of the Muslim religion. The group argues that its activities respond to the historical persecutions of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria, as exemplified by the latest crackdown on its members by the federal government.
Theories on the Rise of Boko Haram
Many opinions allege to provide the reasons for Boko Haram's rise. First, there is an insinuation that this group emerged due to the severe state of poverty in Northern Nigeria. Indeed, 60% population in the said region survives on less than one U.S. dollar in a day. More so, despite this Muslim-dominated region having the rapid people in the country, it derails behind the Christian-dominated areas in every sector of development. Even at that, scholars invalidate that economic deprivation alone cannot cause violent groups and world views. The second issue is the political marginalization of Northeastern Nigeria. It is evident that when the Northern-bred President Umaru Yar'Adua died, the Southern-born Good luck Jonathan assumed office before defending his re-election. However, he destroyed the MOU of rotating the country's leadership between the Northern and Southern Nigeria after eight-year durations. This scenario led to more than 800 deaths. However, this narrative is invalid because Boko Haram began its operations before Jonathan's election, and more so, the group launched a war against Buhari's government, yet was a Muslim from Northern Nigeria.
Besides, Boko Haram's activities ranging from training to terrorist strategies are self-generated or replicated from the Al-Qaida and not as perceived by the third narrative that the group is the latter's affiliate. For instance, members of this group received their training in Mali during the 2012-13 jihadi takeover, not in Somalia as regarded. Lastly, the theory painting Boko Haram as the re-emergence of Maitatsine's team, which focused on fighting for Islamic marginalization, fails to hold waters. According to experts, Boko Haram recruits are diverse and are school dropouts from secondary and tertiary institutions instead of them being strictly Muslims both in religion and education.
Boko Haram's Religious Rhetoric
The type of ideology that the Boko Haram leaders espouse could fail to permeate it as its internal structure and level of cohesion remains unclear. This situation prevails as the organization's leaders remain firm in using religious rhetoric as a way of justifying its cruelty, provocation, and revenge. As a way of validating violence, Boko Haram leaders have claimed that Muslims are on the verge of losing grounds to the system that thrives on immoral principles. This message may look simple, but plays a crucial role in attracting volunteers initiates from the wider West African region. Although other movements share the same views with this group and perceive closing ranks against the existing systems from both external and internal, Boko Haram's leaders are extreme in deciding how and what being a Muslim entails. As a result, the group soldiers are willing for whatever reason to massacre anyone their leaders perceive as unbelievers of Islam.
Establishment of Boko Haram
Boko Haram leaders grew up when Nigeria was experiencing political uncertainty, interreligious violence, and increasing debate on the link between Islam and politics. This period ushered in the era of open preaching (2001-2009). The era witnessed one faction of Boko Haram launch attacks on the local authorities between 2003 and 2004 as the group became more violent in 2009 after launching an uprising in various states of northern Nigeria. However, the state and national governments mitigated the violence and killed the founder, Muhammad Yusuf. Between 2010 and 2013, the group became adaptive and restructured and became a terrorist organization under Abubakar Shekau's authority. The movement launched severe terrorist attacks on significant targets such as Nigeria's capital of Abuja, followed by multiple raids and killings in the northeast of Nigeria. At this time, the group gave civilians two survival options; either to join and show their loyalty to Boko Haram's brand of Islam or experience violence. The organization shocked the world when it kidnapped 276 school-going girls in Chobok town.
The adaptability of the Sect
Boko Haram organization is both adaptive and resilient in its operations. For example, in April 2014. The launch of a combined force of militaries by Nigeria and its neighbors worked towards mitigating the group only for them to suppress its activities shortly. When the group resumed with its terrorism operations within the region, it caused a significant threat not only on Nigeria but its neighbors and the world. The latest development linked Boko Haram to the Islamic State, also called ISIL. This notion emerged in March 2015, leading to schisms in the group. During this same period, the Nigerian military launched an operation intending to recapture Boko Haram-controlled northeastern towns. The organization's response showed how much the group has evolved because it surprisingly employed new strategies of rural killings as well as suicide bombing, notably in N'Djamena, the capital of Chad. This situation rendered the Nigerian authorities handicapped because, after the government announced that it had worm the war against the group, terror still reigns in the region.
Needed Solution and Conclusion
The change that Nigeria had waited or long materialized in the name of President Buhari, the long-serving military personnel and opposition leader in the country's political life. Despite this president promising to curb corruption in the public sector, strengthen regional cooperation and eliminate military decadency, Boko Haram attacks prevailed in the summer of 2015. Conclusively, the fight on Boko Haram requires inclusive efforts from all parties concerned rather than the military alone. The federal, state, local authorities must bring on board the locals to find a permanent solution to socio-economic challenges, countering stories that castigate the country as anti-Islamic as well as spearheading a robust transformation of religion in Northern Nigeria. This region also needs political discussion with members of the Sect to facilitate severe action against those who perpetrated the killing of the group's founder.
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Thursto, Alex. "The Ailment is unbelief": Boko Haram's political and religious worldview. Semitic Scholar, No.22 (January 2016): 67. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/caa1/eb4c2809be9d37c6a6e591362e9b7c9b4675.pdf?_ga=2.265108109.363280910.1576305669-253892951.1574961453.Html.
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