(RNS) Boko Haram is among the most vicious terrorist groups operating in North Africa, home to some of the worst Islamist extremists in the world.

Illustration of Boko Haram.

Illustration of Boko Haram. Photo courtesy of AK Rockefeller via Flickr


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The group is responsible for more than 4,000 deaths in 2014, according to the Nigeria Security Tracker at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The group was begun in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, a cleric whose aim is an Islamic state in Nigeria. He was killed in 2009. The group’s current leader, Abubakar Shekau, surfaces sporadically in videotaped messages.

Shekau was born in Shekau village, which borders Niger. He attended Borno State College of Legal and Islamic Studies. He is also known as “Darul Tawheed,” which translates to an expert in monotheism.

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His age is unknown. The U.S. State Department offered a $7 million reward in 2012 for information leading to his arrest.

In a video released in 2012 after an attack in Kano that killed nearly 200 people, Shekau said, “I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill, the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams.”

Boko Haram opposes the education of girls and has kidnapped girls to use as cooks and sex slaves. It has killed hundreds of children.

The group seeks to replace Nigeria’s government with a strict Islamic state.

Its home base is the Sambisa Forest, a game preserve in Nigeria’s northeast eight times larger than Yellowstone, and it has several hundred to a few thousand fighters.

YS END DORELL

37 Comments

  1. On a practical end, they are essentially a well armed criminal gang. In many cases they are better funded and equipped than the corruption-addled Nigerian military.

    Plus they are receiving funding through the Middle East. As long as they are not Shia, there is always plenty of money coming out of Saudi Arabia and Gulf States to fund whatever mayhem-producing terrorists are out there.

    • That doesn’t mean anything. If those girls were white, those Boko-brain rapists would be eating bullets right now.

      But they’re Nigerian girls. Nobody really cares. Nobody wants to fight for them. Not even that marshmallow Obama. And that bonehead Boko leader Shekau correctly calculated that it would turn out this way.

      But America DOES have the money, munitions, and manpower to end the Boko mess right now. Just walk in, mop up Bokos, walk back out, and leave a little note for the Nigerian President that next time it’s gonna be CLEAN HOUSE on the entire country.

      • If the Nigerian military wasn’t so riddled with corruption, theft and nepotism, they would have wiped the floor with these guys. These are not well trained professional terrorists. They are Crips with RPG’s.

        When it comes to any kind of international situation these days, conservatives are a bunch of raging dillholes. If the president acts by sending troops, they will accuse him of being overly adverturesome and reckless with our forces. That it is not worth the risk. If he does nothing, they will accuse him of being feckless. Its all bullcrap.

        More likely than not, we already have a military presence there but aren’t talking about it. Probably tons o’ drones. Nigeria has oil, we will find some excuse to get involved. Americans also don’t give a flying crap about Africa, so even if we act, it won’t be too publicized.

  2. The Great God Pan

    “Boko Haram opposes the education of girls …”

    They oppose the education of either sex in any topic but the Koran. The group’s name translates to something like “Education Is Forbidden.”

    Also, I recently learned from this very site that it is Islamophobic to identify the 9/11 hijackers as “Islamist.” So why is RNS now identifying Boko Haram that way? Is RNS Islamophobic?

  3. Boko Harum is just Religion.

    Religion stinks and gives every idiot a reason to do bad things.
    Abandon religion. It makes no sense and is devisive.

    Love is enough.

      • The track record for any kind of state theological belief is very very bad
        The track record for personal religious belief is mostly bad.
        The track record for personal belief in atheism is outstanding!!!

        • State Atheism?

          You mean, like America?

          The United States Constitution
          Establisment clause: “Congress shall make NO LAW establishing a religion”

          God is for fools:
          “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church.”
          – Thomas Paine,
          Author of the Constitution of the United States.

          – Thomas Paine

          • @Paul,
            Thanks for the correction.

            The Atheist Thomas Paine wrote the Declaration of Independence but was one of the contributors to the Constitution.

            The Athiest John Adams and Anti Theist, Alexander Hamilton were the more dominant authors of the American Constitution:

            “The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.” – John Adams

    • The correct reading of original Scripture translates to “Thou shalt not MURDER”. Killing (self defense, just war, etc.) is sometimes very justifiable.

      • Correct. In fact, there are several scriptures which command the Israelites to exterminate the Amalekites under the curse of destruction, the reason being their obsessive preoccupation with annihilating the people of God.

        Boko Haram fit the description of Amalek perfectly. God in His wisdom made fissile materials, and may He bless the Jews for giving us Dr J. Robert Oppenheimer.

    • @Kalif

      “Thou shalt not kill” unless
      you refuse to acknowledge Jesus as your Savior:

      “bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM IN FRONT OF ME” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

  4. Those of you with those bumper stickers on your cars that say “COEXIST,” I just wonder, Is this what you have in mind? Maybe not such a good idea then, huh?

  5. Boko Haram is a jihadist group, waging war on Christians and other religions in Nigeria. They are ideologically supported by Islamic doctrine which says that non-Muslim women captured in war should be made slaves and can be used for sex by the jihadis or sold to other Muslims. Slavery is a part of the Islamic ideology and is condoned by sharia law.

    The example Boko Haram follow is that of Mohammed, who was both a religious leader and a warlord. Please read the Quran, the Hadith of Bukhari and the Sira, the biography of Mohammed. It’s all there.

    • Don’t start in with the nonsense of Islam being the reason they are abducting and enslaving women. Especially since such behavior is done as a matter of course in major conflicts in Africa.

      The Christian “Lord’s Resistance Army” was built on abduction and slavery. It was common practice in Africa’s “World War” of the 90’s as well as Liberia and Rwanda. Places which don’t have particularly large Muslim populations and where the combatants were either political, mercenaries or glorified bandits.

      Boko Haram is abducting people because it is profitable. Plus it is an easy way to fill ranks without the whole messy business of bothering to find people willing to join them.

    • Yeah I read the Quran and hadith Joan and couldn’t find any reference to the stereotypical slurs you’ve asserted. The idea that Boko Haram is, as you imply, simply following standard Islamic teachings is breathtakingly nonsensical. Boko Haram have a history of fighting and killing anyone who opposes their views including any other Muslims on account of their Takfiri (death to apostates) belief. I mean we’re talking about a group whose former leader famously stated that it was Islamically unacceptable to believe that the earth is round. Will you be claiming that as standard Islamic ideology as well?

      • Essentially these guys are to Islam what Lord’s Resistance Army is the Christianity. A very insane violent offshoot more concerned with causing mayhem than an actual religions/political goal.

        Since both work in places where the national military are a bunch of corrupt Keystone Kops figures, they can kill, abduct and run amok with impunity.

      • “The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.” (Surah 3:19)
        “Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it.” (Surah 2:216)
        “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51)

      • The delusion called ‘god’ tells you to Kill the others:

        ISLAM SAYS TO OTHERS:
        “The only true faith in God’s sight is Islam.” (Surah 3:19)
        “Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it.” (Surah 2:216)
        “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51)

        JUDAISM SAYS TO OTHERS:
        “Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood.” (Jeremiah 48:10
        “Seize all the non-believers and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight…” (Numbers 25:1-9)

        CHRISTIANITY SAYS TO OTHERS:
        “To those who would not have me as their king, bring them to me and EXECUTE THEM in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

          • @Kelly,

            Cherry picking?

            Why would a good God
            create a tree of so many rotten cherries?

        • Your use of Quranic quotations are completely out of the context in which they have been intended. Surah 3:19 whilst affirming Islam as the true faith, does so with explicit reference to previously divinely revealed faiths such as Christianity and Judaism. Surah 2:216 is explicit in explaining that the fighting prescribed is against religious persecution and for the freedom of religion. And Surah 5:51 if read after reading what precedes it is clearly only in reference to Jews and Christians who actively oppose(war with) Muslims. I’m not sure if Boko Haram uses any of these verses as justification for their activities. But if they do then they, like yourself, need to broaden their reading and subsequent understanding.

          • @RASHID,

            you said,
            “I’m not sure if Boko Haram uses any of these verses as justification for their activities. But if they do then they, like yourself, need to broaden their reading and subsequent understanding.”

            As a non-believer, i avoid any injunctions to kill others. Without God, I have no reason to seek the death of anyone.

            The Holy books are proven blunders.
            They can only be misused because they are multiple choice.

            I do not know if a god exists, but I do not believe it which is what makes me an Atheist – I do not believe.

            But believers would certainly do the world a favor if they put down their weapons – and I am referring to their holy books.

          • Holy books are in some senses multiple choice. Reading or not reading them is a choice. Interpretation is a choice and a matter of free will. If you wilfully choose the wrong interpretation then that’s a blunder. If you play eenie meenie miney mo with the interpretations open to you, then that’s also a blunder. But if you exercise free will in judging interpretation, then you are doing no different than the person (atheist or not) who similarly exercises free will when choosing to follow a path in life. There are plenty of atheists (i.e. without God) who have found reasons to kill through this same exercise of free will.

            The argument that holy books can ‘only’ be misused because they are multiple choice is spurious. If the choices made through their interpretaton is positive and beneficial then logically that is how they should be used, and putting them down would do the world no favours at all.

          • @RASHID,

            You said, “If you wilfully choose the wrong interpretation then that’s a blunder.”

            But there is no ‘wrong’ interpretation of Holy Books. And that is precisely the problem.

            By what measure to you judge it ‘wrong’ to kill a Jewish or a Muslim person who has denied Jesus as the Messiah?
            “bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King and execute them in front of me.” (Luke 19:27)

            It is completely subject to the reader’s INHERENT fair sense of morality.
            So….

            why bother with the text at all?
            The morality was ALWAYS IN THE HANDS of the reader. It is inescapable!

  6. I actually feel sorry for these foolish Boko Harum. Through many sources it can be determined that when a person dies all the misery they have inflicted on others they will then suffer. Boko Harum think they are killing others. In reality they are killing themselves.

  7. The Israelis are getting involved. They have a treaty with Nigeria.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/12/boko-haram-free-kidnapped-schoolgirls-exchange-prisoners
    “Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, has accepted an offer of assistance from the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Jonathan told Netanyahu: “Nigeria would be pleased to have Israel’s globally acknowledged anti-terrorism expertise deployed to support its ongoing operations”, according to the president’s spokesman, Reuben Abati.”

  8. Noreen Lundeen

    So many educated people, who know so much, each one with an answer.
    Believe in God or not, just make an effort to treat people as you wish to be
    treated. I cannot “prove” God and if you say there is no God, why should
    I care? I am not out to convert anyone.

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