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article imageInside the jihadist war in Nigeria

By Justin King     Mar 17, 2014 in World
Maiduguri - The first months of 2014 have proven to be some of the bloodiest in Nigeria’s five-year insurgency. The violence has escalated and the militant Islamic group known as Boko Haram has been claiming the majority of victories.
Boko Haram is the unofficial name for a jihadist organization titled “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad.” Founded in 2002 by Muhammed Yusuf, the organization seeks to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, and since 2009 adherents have been attempting to use violence to achieve that goal. The organization teaches that participation in any Western activity such as voting, attending secular schools, or wearing pants is forbidden.
Yusuf was killed by Nigerian security services in 2009, but the organization regrouped and was combat capable by 2010, when they launched the first of many high profile operations intended to free Boko Haram fighters being held in Nigerian prisons. The group’s control over small sections of Nigeria has been maintained through intimidation caused by assassination. Targets have included Christians, Muslim clerics advocating different doctrines, policemen, and politicians. Many of the attacks have been carried out by gunmen mounted on motorcycles.
Due to the recent upswing in violence that has claimed more than 2,000 lives in the last six months, Christian elders have begun trying to build a coalition among those in the areas targeted by Boko Haram. Elder Olaiya Phillips released a public statement saying
We know only too well the many horrendous crimes committed against the Christian community in Northern Nigeria, and also of the crimes committed against our Moslem neighbours by the same people.
It upsets me to highlight that the innocents of Buni Yadi were not the first [set of] children whose lives have been cut short at the hands of these terrorists. And the soul-destroying fact is that, judging by the present security situation in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, they might not be the last. Boko Haram is sucking lifeblood from our nation. A generation that ought to take our nation forward to a better future is being cut down and taken away from us.
Burnt-out remains of homes and businesses in Konduga  in northeastern Nigeria  on February 12  2014 ...
Burnt-out remains of homes and businesses in Konduga, in northeastern Nigeria, on February 12, 2014 after an attack by Boko Haram Islamists kills 39 people
, AFP
On March 14th, a daylight raid on the main military prison in Maiduguri was conducted by the Boko Haram and the insurgents succeeded in freeing dozens of prisoners. At least 87 Boko Haram fighters were killed in the operation. The local Governor, Kashim Shettima, criticized the military’s lack of preparedness and accused commanders of underestimated the Boko Harem.
Human Rights Watch, which calls the conflict a “humanitarian crisis,” notes that in an attack on the Buni Yadi college earlier this year, soldiers seemed to withdraw before the attack took place. 43 male students were executed, and an unknown number of female students were kidnapped. The organization is calling on the government to investigate to determine if elements in the military are somehow complicit in the attacks.
The Nigerian military has stepped up operations against Boko Haram in Borno
The Nigerian military has stepped up operations against Boko Haram in Borno
Al Jazeera
The most recent prison raid has led to a government counteroffensive. The operations are being conducted by the Nigerian military with the assistance of local vigilante groups. The action has killed over 200 Boko Haram fighters, and Nigerian forces have reported capturing a large weapons cache in the Lake Chad area.
Major General Chris Olukolade of the Nigeria forces has reported that
It has been revealed that the terrorists are now desperate to either free or kill the ones being detained with a view to averting or preventing further revelations about their operations and hideouts as this has been frustrating their plans lately.
Today, students are evacuating the University of Maiduguri due to rumors of an impending attack by the Boko Haram. Female students in particular are fleeing the area. Civilian militia is currently stationed at the school screening visitors.
Northeast Nigeria
Northeast Nigeria
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