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  • Boko Haram Emboldened, Attacks Kano

    Last weekend, Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist organization launched a deadly strike in the northern city of Kano. Targeting government security forces, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for waging a series of bomb attacks and gun assaults that killed over 160 people.

    Boko Haram has gained increasing notoriety in the past year as it has carried out regular attacks against government security forces and innocent civilians, both Muslim and Christian. According to the Associated Press, Boko Haram claimed 510 victims in 2011 while killing as many as 76 this year before the attacks last Friday and Saturday. A bomb attack last August against Nigeria’s United Nations headquarters in Abuja was the organization’s first attack on an international entity and brought more attention to Nigeria’s growing terrorist threat. The brutal attacks on Christmas Eve escalated the sectarian tensions between the country’s already-divided Christian and Muslim communities.

    These attacks are a sign that Boko Haram is building momentum. In a video of posted online, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau challenged Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan: “Jonathan, [you] know full well that this thing is beyond your powers.” As Jonathan has failed to implement an effective counterterrorism strategy, it is no surprise that Boko Haram’s confidence is growing. The Nigerian government is trapped in a game of catch-up.

    Instead of taking proactive measures to counter Boko Haram, Jonathan has responded to attacks by increasing the already-bloated security budget, setting up checkpoints (which might as well be used for target practice) and adopting lofty rhetoric. Additionally, the Nigerian administration’s implementation of a state of emergency has done little to deter Boko Haram’s attacks as they occur almost daily.

    Instead of delivering hollow speeches, Jonathan should develop a comprehensive strategy that addresses counterterrorism while implementing reforms that address the country’s marginalized population in the north. Too often, Boko Haram finds willing recruits from the north as they are outraged by the lack of employment opportunities and unbalanced government services. The fact that they believe that Jonathan stole last April’s presidential election doesn’t help, either.

    In a December 2011 report, the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee acknowledged the threat that Boko Haram could pose to the U.S. one day. However, immediate U.S. concerns include Nigeria’s oil industry and regional security. Nigeria ships nearly 1 million barrels of oil per day to the U.S. Furthermore, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest contributor of peacekeepers. Therefore, the U.S. should start paying attention to Boko Haram’s threat to security now rather than be blindsided by it later.

    The timely meeting between the State Department and Nigerian officials this week to discuss regional security cooperation will likely end with continued U.S. pledges of partnership and cooperation. However, such talks should emphasize Nigeria’s need to address not only the direct terror threat from Boko Haram but also the underlying causes of Nigerian support for the organization.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Boko Haram Emboldened, Attacks Kano

    1. ABC says:

      Of course, we should probably send in troops if U.S. oil interests are at stake! Kidding. Obviously these people are awful, but why should we be getting involved in the internal conflicts of a sub-saharan nation? Because these guys pose some possible future threat? If we constantly policed against potential threats, our military would probably be several times larger than any country in the world. Oh, wait . . .

    2. ISA 50 says:

      I recently discovered this site.i am a nigerian frm kogi state.even though i grow in both sides of the country vis north/south,i am not blinded by ethnicity.the boko haram menace is directly a result of a failed leadership at first,attacks carried out for revenge purpose.but now there are factions in the heirarchy,some factions backed by international terrorist organisations,others by unscrupulous nigerian politicians of northern extractions with southern collaborators,they rest factions is controlled by shady businesspeople and criminal elements that thrive in chaotic environment.Now what is the nigerian government doing to curb this menace? Absolutely nothing. Practically dis interested since it does not disrupt crude oil output.democracy has come to stay in nigeria but its beneficiaries are living and doing like they are overlords.may i remind us that not all bombings are carried out to draw government and world attention. For example, in kaduna state, there is an age long animosity between native christians and native muslims.its now going on in another dimension. Boko haram is firmly rooted in borno and yobe states. These fight government and its agencies, also claiming to kill saboteur civilians.there were there first set of the terrorist until its leadership was hijacked by others with foreign conspirators. These set were behind the bombings of united nations head quarters in abuja and the bombing in kano.as we can now see, it is multi faceted.and insincerity on the part of the government only server to embolden them. Government,not only at the centre but state and local level need to cut down on profligate spending and corruption.its very endemic here in nigeria.truth is there is no respite at sight because if the govt successfully negotiates with the terrorist to cease hostilities,indices shows that similar groups are bound to spring up. Nigeria must invest and dedicate itself to providing basic amenities and infrastructure to its citizenry not playing politics to the gallery. May the lord deliver us from these failed leaders that have turn my country to a failed state. People barely eat in a day yet these politicians spend billions on unseen projects yearly all in the name of poverty alleviation but even the uneducated citizen now knows it is a facade.we are in a deep mess.

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