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Boko Haram: why world is silent on this Jihadi organization?

Boko Haram is an Islamist terrorist organization that is wrecking havoc in Nigeria.

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Logo of Boko Haram. Wikimedia Commons

Shruti Pandey

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.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

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.

Nigerian Army fighting Boko Haram. Wikimedia Commons
Nigerian Army fighting Boko Haram. Wikimedia Commons

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

 

 

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Africa Aims at Battling Extremism, Ebola and Hunger in 2020

Africa Starts 2020 Battling Extremism, Ebola and Hunger

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Africa Health
A health worker fills a syringe with Ebola vaccine before injecting it to a patient, in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. VOA

A tragic airline crash with far-reaching consequences, cataclysmic cyclones that may be a harbinger of the future, the death of an African icon and a new leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize. These African stories captured the world’s attention in 2019, and look to influence events on the continent in 2020.

The battles against extremist violence and Ebola will also continue to be major campaigns in Africa in the coming year.

The crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa in March killed all 157 passengers and crew. The disaster, which claimed the lives of a large number of U.N. officials, involved a Boeing 737 Max jet and came just five months after a similar crash in Indonesia of the same aircraft.

Africa airline
Foreign investigators examine wreckage at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa, Africa. VOA

Boeing was inundated with questions about the safety of its plane. After initially claiming that it was safe, the company was forced to ground the plane after many countries refused to let it fly in their airspace. In December Boeing announced that it would suspend production of the jet.

The air crash was a trial for Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who later in the year won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for achieving peace with neighboring Eritrea. But Abiy is challenged by often violent ethnic rivalries in his country and elections set for May 2020 will be crucial, analysts say.

Cyclone Idai ripped into Mozambique in March, killing more than 1,300 people, making it “one of the worst weather-related disasters ever to hit the southern hemisphere,” according to the U.N. A month later Cyclone Kenneth roared into northern Mozambique, killing more than 50 people.

This was the first time in recorded history that Mozambique had two major cyclones, prompting some to worry that the country, with a 1,000-mile Indian Ocean coastline, may be prone to more storms as a result of climate change.

Africa extremism
A general view shows the scene of a car bomb explosion at a checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia, Africa. VOA

Across Mozambique more than 2.5 million people remain in urgent need of assistance, according to the U.N. Mozambique also starts 2020 troubled by ongoing attacks on vehicles in the country’s central area and by Islamic extremist attacks in the country’s north.

Extremist violence continues to vex Africa from the east to the west.

2019 began with extremist violence. In Kenya in January, insurgents launched an assault on a luxury hotel and shopping complex in Nairobi that killed at least 14 people.

The year came to an end with extremist attacks across the continent.

A bomb in Somalia killed 78 people, including many university students, in the capital, Mogadishu, on Dec. 28, the deadliest attack in years. Somalia’s al-Shabab, allied to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

In Nigeria extremists linked to the Islamic State group circulated a video showing 11 hostages, most of them Christians, being executed. They were thought to be killed on Christmas Day. The extremist group, which calls itself the Islamic State West Africa Province, said the captives were executed as revenge for the killing of Islamic State group leaders in Iraq and Syria in October.

In northern Burkina Faso, jihadists killed 35 civilians, most of them women, and ensuing clashes with security forces left 80 jihadists dead, the West African nation’s president announced Dec. 24. That attack came weeks after an attack on a convoy carrying employees of a Canadian mining company in which at least 37 civilians were killed in the country’s east. Both attacks were by groups numbering close to 100, indicating the presence of relatively large, well-organized extremist groups.

“The startling deterioration of the security situation in Burkina Faso has been a major development in 2019,” said Alex Vines, director of the Africa program at Chatham House, the British think tank. “There’s been a dramatic spike in extremist attacks.”

Frequent attacks in Burkina Faso’s north and east already have displaced more than a half million people, according to the United Nations. While Burkina Faso’s military has received training from both former colonizer France and the United States, it starts 2020 with little progress in halting the surge in extremist violence.

President of South Africa
President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during a state funeral of Zimbabwe’s longtime ruler Robert Mugabe, at the national sports stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe. VOA

Congo starts the year waging a different kind of war, a campaign against Ebola, which has killed more than 2,200 people since August 2018. The medical effort to control the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has been severely hampered since the start by the presence of several armed groups in eastern Congo, the epicenter of the epidemic. It was hoped that new vaccines would help control the outbreak more quickly, but the violence has hampered those efforts.

Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi, elected in 2019, said in November that he was optimistic that the Ebola outbreak would be ended before 2020, but the epidemic continues throughout eastern Congo.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, re-elected in 2019, said in a New Year’s statement that the need to boost his country’s ailing economy and create jobs is his biggest challenge for 2020. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, also re-elected, has said that his government has controlled the rebellion by Boko Haram extremists, but violence continues to plague the country’s northeast.

Zimbabwe’s longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe, died at age 95 in September. Mugabe, the guerrilla leader who fought to end white-minority rule in Rhodesia and then ruled independent Zimbabwe from 1980 until 2017, left a mixed legacy of liberation, repression and economic ruin.

Also Read- HPV Vaccinations may Reduce Cervical Cancer Rate in Kenya

Zimbabwe begins the new year with severe economic problems including inflation estimated at more than 300% and widespread hunger. In an emergency appeal at the end of December, the U.N.’s World Food Program said that even though the southern African country had suffered a drought, Zimbabwe’s food shortages are a ‘man-made” disaster, laying the blame squarely with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

The once-prosperous country staggered to 2020 with power shortages lasting up to 19 hours per day and large parts of the capital, Harare, a city of some 2 million people, going without running water. (VOA)