Name of the Jihadi organization: Boko Haram
Year of inception: 2002
Main area where operational: Nigeria, Africa
In the world of terrorism, Boko Haram isn’t just another name; it’s a ruthless phenomenon that has affected the lives of over 3 million people since its inception. In the name of religion, this Jihadi organization has killed people, abducted and raped women and forced schools to close down.
The savagery started in 2002 to oppose the “western education” and it was named Boko Haram that loosely translates to ‘fake is forbidden’ (where fake is metaphorical as the western education). While the official name of the group is “Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad” that translates to “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s teaching and Jihad” in Arabic.
They are mainly functional in the Africa’s biggest economy- Nigeria, owing to the religious and economic bifurcation between the northern and southern provinces of Nigeria. The southern Nigeria is economically stern, educationally advanced, has all the major oil reserves and is dominated by Christians, while the northern Nigeria is Muslim domination and is economically as well as socially backward.
The group started emerging in 2002 and a group of Islamists started to gather in remote areas of Kanamma and they were involved in skirmishes with the Nigerian government’s officials. They were being guided by a young and charismatic preacher whose name was Mohammed Yusuf. He is often blamed of actuating the youth to turn violent but he negated them all saying he was simply preaching them Quran. His ideology was that the colonization of Nigeria by British had brought western way of life and it posed some serious threat to the Islamic beliefs and sentiments.
Yusuf established his own mosque in the city of Maiduguri. Their first uprising came in 2009 when a group of officials locked horns with Boko Haram in Maiduguri. In the encounter, 17 Boko Haram members were severely wounded and Yusuf ordered the members to attack the police stations and involve in gun battles with the security forces. Fighting the battle, Yusuf was caught by the forces and eventually shot dead.
After killing Yusuf, the military forces declared Boko Haram finished and the group went on a hiatus for more than a year but they terrorized Nigeria again under a new leader Abubakar Shekau who was next to Yusuf in the group. They continued small altercations, bombing in parts of Nigeria until August 2011 when they placed a suicide bomb outside UN headquarter based in Abuja that killed at least 24 people.
Boko Haram started the attacks on schools in early 2013 to show their disregard to the western education. They raised brows of people across the world when they abducted around 276 school girls aged between 16-18 years out of which 219 still remain missing. For ushering awareness about the incident and in attempts to rehabilitate the girls, an international campaign was organized on various social medias- “Bring back our girls” that gained ample of momentum to recover the kidnapped girls.
Not only this, Amnesty International estimates that more than 2000 girls have been abducted by Boko Haram since 2014 maximum of which have been forced to venture into sex slavery.
In 2014, the head of Boko Haram declared caliphate in the entire region under Boko Haram’s control and announced Gwoza as its seat of power. Boko Haram were allegedly approached by ISIS and Al-Qaeda for a strategic tie-up but Shekau chose to shake hands with ISIS and the all the regions under the control of Boko Haram have been named as Islamic State of West Africa Province as a part of global caliphate that ISIS is trying to establish.
They have been recruiting highly skilled warrior forces that are equally good with ammunitions as they are with bombings. CIA approximates their number to be around 4000.
Shruti Pandey is a third year engineering student in HBTI, Kanpur and aspires to bring a change through words. Twitter @srt_kaka