In the last decade violence inspired by Boko Haram has resulted in nearly 35,000 deaths. There is no clear end in sight for this violence.
On Monday night 25 people were massacred while returning from a wedding in a northeastern Nigerian town. Survivors say attackers went from house to house firing bullets in all directions. Boko Haram has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but the method of the violence fits the groups prior and frequent deadly operations.
Since 2009 nearly 35,000 people have been killed in the violence unleashed by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the surrounding nations of West Africa. Many of those dead have been victims of the counterterrorism forces meant to bring an end to this terrorist organization. Those efforts have proven so far ineffective. It is estimated that 45% of the victims of the violence have been civilians often caught in the crossfire of Boko Haram attacks and counter-attacks from security forces.
Boko Haram springs from the poorest regions of northeast Nigeria. It is a Muslim extremist group and unlike Nigerian violence of earlier decades, they seem to be less interested in ethnic rivalries.
Although in the past they have targeted Christians, in recent years as divisions have developed within the terrorist organization, mosques have been more frequently targeted. To date, Muslims, the poor and resident in the northeastern area of the country where the group was birthed make up the majority of the terrorist group’s victims.
In addition to the dead, more than 2.4 million people have been displaced by the Boko Haram violence. These displacements have produced further instability, poverty, and struggles in the poorest areas of Nigeria.
In other words, there is no consistent ideological agenda for Boko Haram. They are killing their own and also anyone else who presents as a viable target.
Boko Haram has spread beyond the borders of Nigeria and into neighboring countries of Niger, Cameroon, and Chad. The violence produced by Boko Haram in these areas has frequently merged with local ethnic and extremist violence, creating a state of chaos throughout the region.
In January, Niger’s security forces reported the killing of 280 Boko Haram fighters in air strikes near the country’s border with Nigeria.
Learn more about this terrorist group’s origins in my Essential Guides series here at the web site. You can also purchase my book on Boko Haram here at Amazon.com.
Another great source for frequent and consistent updates regarding terrorist violence in Nigeria is this Nigeria Security Tracker from the Council on Foreign Relations.