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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
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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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The Next Big Advance In Technology May Come From Africa

Toybox co-Founder Kanina Foss says Africa is an ideal springboard for innovation, with its rich artistic talent and traditions.

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Technology, robot, inventions
The mock killer robot was displayed in London in April 2013 during the launching of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which calls for the ban of lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention. (VOA)

From a young age, Phatwa Senene knew he wanted to be an inventor.

He got his start at age 11, he said, when he attached a DC motor to a fan. He then attached the fan to a drill and proceeded to drill holes into his bedroom wall. His invention worked, he said: The fan blew away the dust from the drilling.

“That was my first invention that I can recall,” he said, laughing. “My mom didn’t like it at all.”

He nearly hit a figurative wall years later, when he tried to go to university, but found he couldn’t afford it. His family was poor, he said, and he grew up in a Johannesburg township.

But the now-33-year-old plowed ahead, coming up with innovative inventions, like a data-collecting, 3D-printed solar-powered streetlamp, that have caught the attention of South African municipalities and companies.

Two of his new streetlamps, which are capable of tracking data like noise levels and air quality, are being piloted in inner city Johannesburg.

Toybox for inventors

It’s that creativity and innovation that have also caught the attention of African technology innovators, who are hoping to turn this unique idea into profit. Senene is a member of a new Johannesburg tech innovation hub, called Toybox, that gives inventors, artists and tinkerers room to work, a community to work with, and business support to get their inventions off the drawing board and into the real world.

Co-founder Arlene Mulder, who previously started WeThinkCode, an institution that teaches young South Africans about coding and software engineering, says Africa is often overlooked as a source for ideas and invention. She wants to change that, by supporting local inventors and giving them room to grow.

Inventions
Toybox co-founders Arlene Mulder and Kanina Foss say their tech innovation project aims to link Africa’s rich talents in art and innovation with the growing need for innovative technology in the developing world. VOA

“We’ve been seeing, over the last couple of years, incredibly talented inventors coming up with incredible inventions, but they are struggling to bring these inventions to life,” she tells VOA. “So we are creating this ecosystem and platform for them to come together, and we provide access to the global world.”

In exchange for its services, the hub gets a portion of the revenue the inventors end up making. There are similar places operating elsewhere in South Africa as well as Kenya and Rwanda.

Welcome support

Senene says he appreciates the support. It was hard to get ahead flying solo.

“You can be an inventor all day, but you still need to eat, you need to run a business,” he said. “So, as an inventor, I had to go through the process where you learn about business. And all of that for me was self-taught. There’s no one in my family who would set a path for me, there was no one who guided me, so, trial and error, I learned the hard way.”

Toybox co-Founder Kanina Foss says Africa is an ideal springboard for innovation, with its rich artistic talent and traditions.

Inventions
Toybox founder Arlene Mulder views a project that their tech innovation hub was involved in, a Virtual Reality exhibition at a Johannesburg art gallery. VOA

“Some of the cool stuff our fellows are doing include leveraging the intersections between technologies and the creative disciplines, so that we can use artists to really push the barriers on what tech can do,” she said.

Senene, the inventor, says his inspiration comes from some unexpected places. One of his recent innovations is a “tombstone tracker,” a tool meant to find stolen grave markers, which has been a problem in South Africa.

Also Read: A Study of Africa’s Bush Elephants

“What inspires me is my environment,” he said. “So many of my devices have been inspired by the places that I’ve lived in, especially the problems. So, I’m very sensitive to negativity, to horrible things, and that allows me to identify them, and I have an ability to try to come up with a solution.”

If he finds a solution, places like Toybox will be ready to help him develop and market the idea. (VOA)