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Boko Haram, Brutal Violence in Northern Nigeria

Boko Haram, Brutal Violence in Northern Nigeria

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Published by Frank Kaufmann
This article describes continued violence in the northern state of Borno, Nigeria and the purposes and roots of the group Boko Haram
This article describes continued violence in the northern state of Borno, Nigeria and the purposes and roots of the group Boko Haram

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Published by: Frank Kaufmann on Aug 26, 2013
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05/16/2014

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Boko Haram, Brutal Violence in Northern Nigeria
by Frank Kaufmann, 08/26/13Page 1
New, more gory details haveemerged in what wasreported first as the killing of 35 Muslim worshipers andthe wounding of 14 lastweek in the town of Dumbavillage in Borno State,Nigeria.News of the tragedy wasslow to emerge because area is remote and because internet and phone lines hadbeen cut off by authorities in the attempt to disrupt the activities of the groupBoko Haram, suspected of the perpetrating the massacre. It was the second suchincident in this month. This morning’sreportnow indicate that 44 victims had their throats slit, and theremaining victims had their eyes gouged out. The
 
official of the NationalEmergency Management Agency (NEMA),speaking
 
on the condition of anonymityexplained that the group adopted this method of killing as a strategy to avoidsound from gunfire which attracts security forces. The common reference for Boko Haram in virtually all reports this morning“Islamist extremists,”orin some cases “Islamist insurgents,” probably due toreliance onAP wire servicefor details as they slowly come to light.Borno state is located in thenortheast of Nigeria, bordering Niger, Chad, andCameroon is the headquarters of Boko Haram, which now has members in thesesurrounding countries as well. The name Boko Haram combines Hausa and Arabic language. Haram of course isthe Qur'anic concept referring to that which is “forbidden,” as it may to apply to
 
Boko Haram, Brutal Violence in Northern Nigeria
by Frank Kaufmann, 08/26/13Page 2
any number of religious, moral, and ethical prohibitions. The term Boko is lessclear. Since the group has now also adopted the all Arabic name Jamā'at ahl as-sunnah li-d-da'wa wa-l-jihād, meaning the Congregation of the People of Traditionfor Proselytism and Jihad, the commonly presumed translation for the group’sname Boko Haram is “Western Education is Forbidden,” butHausa speakers
 
knowthe word Boko to mean animism. This brings the roots of Muslim opposition to farmore distant origins when Islam was confronted and repulsed by TraditionalAfrican religions practiced in Borno's small villages. Themodern roots of Boko Harambegan in 1995 as Shabaab, Muslim YouthOrganization. Its founding leader left to continue his education, andMohammed Yusuf 
 
took over the group's leadership, reorienting it to political purposes. Under Yusuf officially founding Boko Haram in 2002 the group's the aim became theestablishment of a Shari'a government in Borno State. It remained relativelypeaceful for 7 years, and in 2009 that the group became violent in response to aNigerian government investigation into the group's activities following reports thatits members were arming themselves. Since then death estimates caused by whatnow has become an intensely violent group range fromAP’s 1700to othersas high as 4000
 
.It is accurate to identify Boko Haram as Islamist, as its self-expressed purposesinvolve the establishment of a Taliban-like Sharia state, but it is mixed in its makeup and sources of extreme violence. It is anti-government having for example,bombed the United Nations (UN) House in Abuja and other government ownedstructures. It has non-Muslims as its members, and has attacked prominentMuslims, mosques, and has killed Islamic religious leaders.Boko Haram violence is acute, and should function as a bellwether for anemerging center of instability and breeding ground of extreme militant purposeand organization. The massive destabilization of the region was greatly exacerbated by the US andBritish led invasion of Libya.

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