Nigeria: Islamic Radicals Crushed


August 6, 2009: In the north, over fifty Moslem clerics complained that they had repeatedly complained to the government and police about Boko Haram, but were ignored. The police insist that they were monitoring the radical group, but missed any indications that attacks were planned, at least for a specific date (July 26th).

Most northerners oppose Boko Haram, which is a Taliban-like organization that believes Western education and lifestyle must go and a religious dictatorship established in Nigeria, to deal with the corruption and crime. Nigerians agree on the need to deal with criminals in government, and on the street, but not at the cost of their freedom.

The government has ordered an investigation into the high (about 800 people) death toll from the Boko Haram attacks, and the security forces response. Meanwhile, police are still seeking out Boko Haram members. It's believed that over a hundred Boko Haram followers are still out there, including some of the leaders. Many clerics in the north believe that organizations like Boko Haram will rebuild, and make another attempt to drive out the police and corrupt politicians. People throughout the country are angry at the corruption and inefficient government. But in the north, many Moslems believe that imposition of Sharia (Islamic law) will solve the problem. It won't, and it hasn't where it has been tried. But the belief persists, with some Islamic conservatives clinging to the idea that more Sharia will eventually work. But lots of Sharia is unpopular, among most Moslems, as well as nearly all non-Moslems.

In the Niger Delta oil region, the amnesty program for anti-government rebels begins today. While this may reduce the violence for a while, it does not address the core problems (government corruption, and officials who steal the oil money and leave most Nigerians in the delta with nothing, except the pollution and disruption of the oil fields.) Most of the MEND rebels are merely complying with a 60 day ceasefire, and waiting for the government actually do something for a change. There is not a lot of optimism about the government.

July 30, 2009: Mohammed Yusuf, leader of the Boko Haram sect, was captured and killed by police in the northern city of Maiduguri (the capital of Borno state).  Yousuf was said to have been killed while trying to escape custody. He died with handcuffs on. About 800 of Yusuf's followers, civilians caught in the crossfire, and initial victims of the radical's attacks, were killed. Police and troops moved quickly to crush the Taliban-like Islamic radical group, and the violence was over in about a week. Nearly 4,000 people fled their homes during the fighting.




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