The menace of Boko Haram has been a challenge for Nigerians and two successive Nigerian governments. They seem to be all out to make Nigeria unsafe and to perpetuate their misguided beliefs. They are in the news every for one act, fight, or confrontation with the Nigerian military and in this piece we would be bringing you what you didn’t know about this dreaded sect.
Boko Haram is known for many recruitment but this is done especially from young children that are about 11 years of age after which they under military training in camps that are not known. This takes about a year before these children are sent out to carry out various crimes especially suicide attacks. While undergoing these trainings they are also radicalized giving them a good reason or justification to commit crime.
2. Hatred for Christians
As much as they desire to set up an Islamic caliphate or Islamize the nation so that they can perpetuate their own doctrine of Islam, they also have a strong hatred for Christians even though their killings have cut across both Christian and Muslim victims. Their leader Abubakar Shekau had this to say at some point;
Either you are with us, I mean, we are Muslims who are following solid footsteps, or you’re with Obama, Francois Hollande, George Bush … Ban Ki-moon and his people generally, any unbeliever … kill, kill, kill,”
“This war is against Christians, I mean Christians generally.”
3. The Founder
The group was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002 even though their activities were not well known. After a sectarian killing in 2009 by the Nigerian Police which resulted in the death of Mohammed, they became more vicious in the activities. Many have condemned the killing of Mohammed Yusuf.
4. What they Stand for
The full rendition of Boko Haram (Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad”, in Arabic, translates“People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”) actually means that Western Education is forbidden. This on the other hand contradicts the fact they use devices and equipment created by the Western World to carry out their activities.
5. Their Affiliation
In March 2015, Boko Haram declared its allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) which happens to be the most popular terrorist group in the world today. ISIS is known to have carried various attacks on Europe, Middle East and many other war torn areas.
6. On Ali Modu Sherrif
He has been accused for being a sponsor of Boko Haram after he was named by Australian negotiator Stephen Davis. He has come out to deny such allegations while still making some revelations about the sect. According to him;
“This is not true. The Boko Haram issue did not start during my tenure. If you don’t know, let me educate you today. Boko Haram started in 1992 at Kalama in Yobe State, and at that time, I was not a governor. So, if anybody tells you it started during my tenure, he may be part of my traducers. But the truth is that it didn’t start during my tenure.”
7. Crazier than Al-Qaeda
Though linked to the terrotist grouped Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram is more like African rebel group has less in common than the Al-Shabab (operates in Somalia) than Lord’s Resistance Army (operating in Northern Uganda for more than 25 years). Al-Qaeda is known to slaughter individuals but Boko Haram like the LRC attack populations, kidnap girls en masse, engage in savage killings and operate at porous borders.
8. Military Strategy Against them
Many believe that the challenge of Boko Haram cannot be solved by military action alone.
“This problem is coming from bad governance, bad governance and bad governance,” says Rinaldo Depagne, West Africa project director for the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based research organization. “More troops, more boots on the ground won’t solve anything.”
Obama’s administration responded in the right direction by sending in people from other disciplines like psychology to help find the missing girls. The US has been making efforts to make Nigeria understand that heavy military approach is not the best in trying to rescue the girls.
9. Amnesty for Boko Haram
The truth is that Boko Haram will not accept amnesty for any reason known to the public at this point. They believe in the righteousness of their killings, they think that God supports the killing of anyone that doesn’t believe in their cause. They don’t want money for pleasures rather they are okay buying weapons and food for themselves.
10. The Man Shekau
He calls himself the Emir of Boko Haram meaning the king of western education is sin. He believes Boko Haram is his kingdom without land as the Nigerian government has not allowed him to occupy the Sambisa forest.