Nigeria: Islamic Radicals Struggle


August 12, 2011: The government has no fix for the Boko Haram Islamic terror group in the north. Negotiations are unlikely to solve anything, because Boko Haram is all about establishing a religious dictatorship in northern (Moslem) Nigeria, and eventually throughout the entire region. Boko Haram is sustained by popular opposition to the widespread corruption in the country. Even the adoption of Islamic law (Sharia) in the north over the last few years has not done much for the corruption problem. Too many leaders, both political and religious, are corrupt. The north is worse off because it has higher illiteracy and a weaker economy. Under these conditions, Islamic radicalism is always a tempting solution to many. But most northerners do not back the Boko Haram solution. At the same time, few in the north trust the army or police to cope with the Boko Haram violence.

Boko Haram has taken advantage of the fear they have created to threaten more attacks in the Christian south. This increases their popularity in the Moslem north (because of the ancient north/south, Christian/Moslem rivalries). But it also spurs the government to actually do something to destroy Boko Haram. This usually ends up as a lot of heavy handed army and police operations, which leave the bad guys dead, along with a lot of innocent civilians.

In the Niger Delta, fifty years of oil production has left millions of barrels of oil spilled into the local waterways and, increasingly, in the drinking water. Most of this leakage was the result of oil theft (tapping into pipelines, and stealing some of what gushed out, leaving the rest to flow into the waterways of the delta). Most of the oil revenue has been stolen by corrupt government officials, leaving very little to pay for over a decade of cleanup efforts (which will apparently never happen.)

August 8, 2011: In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, near Nigeria's border with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, Boko Haram gunmen killed a prison official and a schoolteacher. Such attacks are meant to terrorize the city, a tactic which has been successful. But the Islamic terrorists do not have the manpower to actually take over the city. Terrorizing is the worst they can do.

In northern Bauchi State, four policemen were wounded when someone, apparently Boko Haram members, threw a crude bomb at them.

August 2, 2011: In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, gunfire and an explosion left two people dead and two wounded. Boko Haram was apparently responsible.

July 31, 2011: In the central Nigerian city of Jos, a bomb went off, causing no injuries. Jos has, for months, been the scene of deadly violence between Moslems and Christians.

July 30, 2011: In the central Nigerian city of Jos, a bomb went off, causing no injuries.



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