What is Boko Haram?

Of late the news has been filled with the atrocities of this group. Boko Haram, also known as the Nigerian Taliban according to the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations, has morphed from a localized organization into a regional problem. In 2013 alone, it was responsible for 213 attacks that killed 1589 people, making Nigeria one of the top ten countries in terms of the number of terror attacks upon it. (Statistical Information on Terrorism 2013) The Global Terrorism Database lists 579 “incidences” by this group dating back to 2009. Background information on it can be found: Special Report: What is Boko Haram? (United States Institute of Peace); Boko Haram in Nigeria: Its Beginning, Principles and Activities in Nigeria (Bayero University, Nigeria); Boko Haram’s Evolving Threat (Africa center for Strategic Studies); Boko Haram (Council on Foreign Relations); Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists? (BBC); Boko Haram: Racing to Reclaim the Initiative (Chatham House, part of its Nigeria Project); Boko Haram: Anatomy of a Crisis(e-International Relations Edited Collection); Confronting the Terrorism of Boko Haram in Nigeria(Joint Special Operations University); Explaining the Emergence of Boko Haram (Brookings); Nigeria (Times Topics); Boko Haram Growing Threat to U.S. Homeland (U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security); Understanding Nigeria’s Boko Haram Radicals (UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs); Curbing Violence in Nigeria (II): The Boko Haram Insurgency (International Crisis Group); Nigeria: Elections and Issues for Congress (CRS); UK’s response to extremism and instability in North and West Africa (UK House of Commons. Foreign Affairs Committee); and Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions (CRS). Profiles of its leader Abubakar Shekau are at the BBC and the National Counterterrorism Center.

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