216 Curbing Violence in Nigeria II the Boko Haram Insurgency

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Transcript of 216 Curbing Violence in Nigeria II the Boko Haram Insurgency

  • Curbing Violence in Nigeria (II): The Boko Haram Insurgency Africa Report N216 | 3 April 2014

    International Crisis Group Headquarters Avenue Louise 149 1050 Brussels, Belgium Tel: +32 2 502 90 38 Fax: +32 2 502 50 38 [email protected]

  • Table of Contents

    Executive Summary ................................................................................................................... i

    Recommendations..................................................................................................................... iii

    I. Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 1II. Corruption, Political Violence and the Weak State .......................................................... 2

    A. Politics, Political Violence, Bad Governance and Poverty ......................................... 2B. Declining Human Development Resources ............................................................... 4C. Growing Alienation and Radicalisation ..................................................................... 5

    III. The Rise of Boko Haram .................................................................................................. 7A. The Muslim Battle of Ideas in the North ................................................................... 8B. The Emergence and Evolution of Boko Haram ......................................................... 9

    1. Internal disagreements ........................................................................................ 92. A dangerous political tool ..................................................................................... 113. The uprising .......................................................................................................... 13

    IV. A Rapidly Evolving Threat ............................................................................................... 14A. Revenge, Changing Tactics and Terrorist Violence ................................................... 14B. Diffuse Organisation and Leadership ........................................................................ 18C. External Links and Networks .................................................................................... 23D. From Boko Haram to Ansaru .................................................................................... 26

    V. A Complex Conflict ........................................................................................................... 30A. The Governments Response ..................................................................................... 30

    1. Strengthening anti-terrorism legislation ............................................................. 302. Boosting the capacities of the military and other security agencies. ................... 313. Exploring dialogue with the insurgents ............................................................... 334. Military operations and civilian vigilantes ........................................................... 345. Contradictory strategies and fraud ...................................................................... 36

    B. Boko Harams Suspicion and Divisions ..................................................................... 37C. The Civilian Joint Task Force .................................................................................... 38D. The 2015 Elections ..................................................................................................... 39E. Impact on the North and Implications for Nigeria ................................................... 40

    VI. A Way Forward ................................................................................................................. 42A. Federal Government .................................................................................................. 42

    1. A far north development commission .................................................................. 422. Improved governance and service delivery .......................................................... 433. An end to impunity ............................................................................................... 434. Win hearts and minds .......................................................................................... 43

    B. Nigerias Partners ...................................................................................................... 451. Regional partners ................................................................................................. 452. Other partners and donors ................................................................................... 46

    C. Addressing Extremism .............................................................................................. 47D. Local and National Dialogue ..................................................................................... 47

    VII. Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 49

  • APPENDICES A. Map of Nigeria .................................................................................................................. 50 B. About the International Crisis Group .............................................................................. 51 C. Crisis Group Reports and Briefings on Africa since 2011 ................................................ 52 D. Crisis Group Board of Trustees ........................................................................................ 54

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  • International Crisis Group

    Africa Report N216 3 April 2014

    Executive Summary

    Boko Harams four-year-old insurgency has pitted neighbour against neighbour, cost more than 4,000 lives, displaced close to half a million, destroyed hundreds of schools and government buildings and devastated an already ravaged economy in the North East, one of Nigerias poorest regions. It overstretches federal security services, with no end in sight, spills over to other parts of the north and risks reaching Niger and Cameroon, weak countries poorly equipped to combat a radical Islamist armed group tapping into real governance, corruption, impunity and underdevelopment grievances shared by most people in the region. Boko Haram is both a serious challenge and manifestation of more profound threats to Nigerias security. Unless the federal and state governments, and the region, develop and implement comprehensive plans to tackle not only insecurity but also the injustices that drive much of the troubles, Boko Haram, or groups like it, will continue to destabilise large parts of the country. Yet, the governments response is largely military, and political will to do more than that appears entirely lacking.

    Most Nigerians are poorer today than they were at independence in 1960, victims of the resource curse and rampant, entrenched corruption. Agriculture, once the economys mainstay is struggling. In many parts of the country, the government is unable to provide security, good roads, water, health, reliable power and education. The situation is particularly dire in the far north. Frustration and alienation drive many to join self-help ethnic, religious, community or civic groups, some of which are hostile to the state.

    It is in this environment that the group called Boko Haram (usually translated loosely as Western education is forbidden) by outsiders emerged. It is an Islamic sect that believes corrupt, false Muslims control northern Nigeria. The group and fel-low travellers want to remedy this by establishing an Islamic state in the north with strict adherence to Sharia (Islamic law).

    Boko Harams early leader, the charismatic preacher Mohammed Yusuf, tried to do so non-violently. While accounts are disputed, the narrative put forward by Boko Haram and now dominant in the region is that around 2002, Yusuf was co-opted by the then Borno state gubernatorial candidate, Ali Modu Sheriff, for the support of his large youth movement, in exchange for full implementation of Sharia and prom-ises of senior state government positions for his followers in the event of an electoral victory. Sheriff denies any such arrangement or involvement with the sect. As the group rose to greater prominence, the state religious commissioner was accused of providing resources to Yusuf, while the government never implemented full Sharia.

    Yusuf subsequently became increasingly critical of the government and official cor-ruption, his popularity soared, and the group expanded into other states, including Bauchi, Yobe and Kano. After the politicians created the monster, a senior security officer commented, they lost control of it. The State Security Services (SSS) arrested and interrogated Yusuf a number of times, but he was never prosecuted, reportedly because of the intervention of influential officials. He also was said to receive funds from external Salafi contacts, including Osama bin Laden, that he used to fund a micro-credit scheme for his followers and give welfare, food and shelter to refugees and unemployed youth.

  • Curbing Violence in Nigeria (II): The Boko Haram Insurgency Crisis Group Africa Report N216, 3 April 2014 Page ii

    A series of clashes between Boko Haram members and police escalated into an armed insurrection in 2009. Troops crushed the rebellion, killing hundreds of fol-lowers and destroying the groups principal mosque. Yusuf was captured, handed over to the police and shortly thereafter extrajudicially executed.

    Boko Haram went underground and a year later launched attacks on police offic-ers, police stations and military barracks, explicitly in revenge for the killings