Boko Haram added another 40 lives to their list of casualties today after attacking a village in the Nigerian state of Borno. The group raided the village, setting most of the homes alight and killing at least 40 people. This comes after their attacks in Yobi state yesterday, where many were killed in the bombing of police stations.
Abubekar Shekau, the leader of the Islamist extremist group, has intensified his attack on Nigerian villages in the hope to abolish Western education and ideals. The name, Boko Haram, literally means, “Western education is sin”. The attacks are terrorising the Northeastern parts of Nigeria and are violent and indiscriminate in nature.
A concern voiced by defense officials is that the recent kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls from a boarding school in the town of Chibok earlier in the year may have raised the profile of the organisation to a higher level. This could assist the organisation with funding and further recruitment, due to the exposure which they have received. The Islamist militant group now has members ranging in the region of hundreds to thousands. In 2011, the group, through its affiliation with al Qaeda, managed to get them to train many of its fighters. This occurred both in Somalia and the Islamist Magreb.
Boko Haram’s rapid growth in previous years can be attributed to a raising of their profile, which in turn triggered investing from al Qaeda affiliates in North and East Africa.
The threat is so serious that Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonothan, declared a state of emergency in May 2013. The president has stated that he intends to wage, “total war,” against Boko Haram. He has said that he will not give up the fight for democracy in the country and that he is determined to protect it.
In another twist to the schoolgirl saga, a top Nigerian military official, Air Chief Marshal, Alex Badeh, stated that the military has knowledge of the whereabouts of the abducted girls. “The good news for the parents of the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you,” Badeh said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria. He claims that the military knows where the girls are located, but they will not be using force to have hem returned.
Earlier in the week, the Nigerian government backed out of a deal to have the missing schoolgirls returned in exchanged for the release of some captured Boko Haram fighters.