Boko Haram spreading its tentacles of terror

All you need to know about the Jihadist group that has driven over 2.1 million people from their homes.

September 19, 2015 10:14 am | Updated September 06, 2016 09:55 am IST

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

The jihadist group’s six-year insurgency to create an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has left 20,000 dead. Its armed fighters have now brought their violence to Nigeria’s neighbours.

What is Boko Haram?

Boko Haram (which means Western education is forbidden in the Hausa language) is an armed group that opposes secular authority. Founded in 2002, it has been fighting the Nigerian state since 2009.

How big is their force?

With an estimated 15,000-strong force, the group has launched a fresh wave of violence that has dealt a blow to an operation launched in February by Nigerian troops with the help of Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The four-country offensive had chalked up a number of victories against the jihadists.

Who is their leader?

Abubakar Shekau, who heads the council of elders called Shura, took power after former leader, Mohammad Yusuf, was killed in custody by the Nigerian police in 2009.

The scale and depravity of Boko Haram’s attacks is appalling. But it is shocking that an army which is supposed to protect civilians from Boko Haram has committed atrocities themselves. — Alioune Tine, Amnesty International director for West and Central Africa

Who funds them?

Most of their funds come from looting towns, bank robberies and money collected in ransom. Some claim the group has links with Nigerian politicians and international jihadi groups.

How do they operate?

Boko Haram carries out murderous assaults on an almost daily basis. Often they abduct unmarried women and girls. In April 2014 they kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from Chibok.

Why are they doing this?

Boko Haram seeks to impose its rule on the people of northeast Nigeria. In August 2014, Boko Haram’s leader declared the territory to be a ‘caliphate’. It now calls itself the “Islamic State's West Africa Province”.

What is being done to stop them?

An 8,700-strong Multi-National Joint Task Force, drawing troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, is expected to be deployed soon .

Untold fear and suffering

6,800Civilians killed in Nigeria since 2014
2.1 mnpeople driven from their homes
5,00,000children forced to flee their homes in the last five months
1.4 mnchildren on the run in Nigeria and neighboring countries
1.2 mnchildren under 5 years who have fled northern Nigeria
2,65,000children uprooted in Cameroon, Chad and Niger
2,000people kidnapped since 2013
38abductions documented since 2014
56,000Nigerian refugees in Cameroon
92%people who live in host communities
8%people who live in camps or camp-like sites
1,000people killed since Muhammadu Buhari was elected President in May
1.6 mndisplaced population in Borno state
150,000refugees living in Diffa, Niger

Foodhold in Cameroon

1,200people extra-judicially executed by Nigerian Army
7,000people who died in inhumane prison conditions
20,000people arbitrarily arrested during crackdown
1,000suspects, some as young as five, detained by Cameroonian forces
25people have died in custody of security forces
130of more than 200 men and boys arrested in July remain unaccounted for
1,000people killed since Muhammadu Buhari was elected President in May
1.6 mndisplaced population in Borno state
150,000refugees living in Diffa, Niger

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