Who is Boko Haram?
Following reports that suspected Islamist militants (Boko Haram) have raided a Nigerian village over the weekend and murdered dozens, according to witnesses, NewsAfrica requires some answers as to who they are.
The gunmen reportedly rounded up a group of men in Izghe village and shot them, before going door-to-door and killing anyone they found.
The senator for Borno state, where the attack took place, has told the BBC that 106 people were killed in the latest attack.
Ali Ndume said around 100 Islamist militants attacked Izghe for five hours on Saturday evening, without any intervention from the army.
He said the military recently withdrew from the area after nine soldiers were killed in an ambush last week.
“All the dead bodies of the victims are still lying in the streets,” resident Abubakar Usman told Reuters news agency.
“We fled without burying them, fearing the terrorists were still lurking in the bushes.”
Other witnesses described how the attackers had arrived on Saturday evening in trucks and motorcycles.
They asked the men in the village to gather, and then they hacked and shot them to death.
More than 30 people were killed in the town of Konduga, also in Borno state, earlier this week in an attack blamed on Boko Haram.
Who is Boko Haram?
- The congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad
- Better known by Hausa name- BOKO HARAM
- Translated as “Western education is sinful”
- An Islamic jihadist militant and terrorist group based in northeast Nigeria, north Cameroon and Niger
- Founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2001
- First attack was in Borno in January 2011 which killed four people
- Aims to establish an absolute Islamic state ruled by Sharia law to curtail westernization
- Group targets Christians and government establishments
- Most of the children, women, men, and businesses affected are in the Muslim north, and many analysts say it is not a Christian-Muslim feud.
- Churches, schools, military,police stations, government offices, kidnapping western tourists and assassination of Islamic figures deemed sellouts
- Estimated deaths from 2001-2013 from Boko Haram violence now reaches 15,000
- A refugee crisis has come to fruition with thousands forced to move into neighbouring Cameroon and Niger.
- The UN estimates that up to 8,000 people have entered Cameroon alone, while local organisations say the number might be close to 20,000.
- Boko Haram has impacted northern Nigerian states -Borno,Adamawa,Kaduna,Bauchi,Yobe and Kano.
- Federal government of Nigeria has declared a State Of Emergence in the region
- Boko Haram appears to be a cluster of splinter groups or franchisees mostly sympathetic or affiliated to Al Qaeda in Africa
- Main known splinter group is Ansaru has been conducting high profile kidnappings in Delta region
- Known leaders to date –Abubakar Shekau (current), Dan Hajia, Abba, Abatcha Flatari,Momodu Bama and Mohammed Yusuf.
This is believed to be Abubakar Shekau
- USA government designated Boko Haram as a Terrorist Organisation on 13 November 2013
- In 2013, 950 suspected Boko Haram recruits died in Nigerian custody following alleged “torture” .
Northern Nigeria is under emergency rule, but attacks have intensified (Photo:BBC)
- Nigerian Federal government is criticised for failing to plug the source of funding for Boko Haram
- Links to Al Qaeda has made channels of funding readily available from Saudi Arabia and Islamic world
- Bank robberies
- Blackmail and extortion against government officials through protection fees
- Since USA designated Boko Haram as terrorist organisation, funding through North America and Europe has dried
- Unconfirmed reports suggest that President Jonathan is under pressure from western diplomats to open negotiations with Boko Haram as more attacks affect the innocent population.
- International financial sector is turning heat Nigerian government over its inability to track the source of funds of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, and curb terrorism financing in general.
- Feelers from Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard setter for measures to combat money laundering, terrorism and proliferation financing, indicated that despite the earlier warnings to Nigeria on its non-compliance level, the country was yet to take any concrete step to stem the rising spate of financial crimes including terrorism financing, money laundering and corruption. In its recent report, dated February 11th 2014, the FATF listed Nigeria among the countries that have not made significant progress in addressing the lacunas in their Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) regimes.
- The agency advised the international financial community on the potential risks in the country. Recent happenings, especially the activities of Boko Haram and startling revelations from various probes by the National Assembly, are putting Nigeria under global focus and scrutiny.
- It will be recalled that on June 23, 2006, FATF decided to remove Nigeria from its list of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCTs). Since July 2001 Nigeria has been on this shame list. The cost to the economy is incalculable: inflow/outflow of transactions to Nigeria has around it a cautionary flag to the rest of the world; numerous Nigerians operating outside the country have had their financial dealings cancelled/ monitored.
- In the same vein, Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) in its 2011 annual report clearly showed that the sources of money laundering, corruption, tax fraud, narcotics, trafficking and capital market related crimes were identified as the major challenges facing Nigeria.
- The data from GIABA, an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of AML/CFT in West Africa, stated that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) seized 195, 283, 917 kilogrammes of various types of illicit drugs, mostly cannabis valued at over N140 million.
- The country also generated 8,725, 213 Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), 2,031 Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and 83 confirmed cases of money laundering in the reviewed period.
- Commenting on the report, Director-General, GIABA, Dr Abdullahi Shehu, regretted that despite the support of GIABA, Nigeria still engages in predicate offences that assist the growth of money laundering.
Sources -Al Jazeera, BBCAfrica,The Herald Nigeria,Snitchngr & Information Nigeria