Boko Haram: Never Again? Too Distant a Dream?

“Terrorism has once again shown it is prepared deliberately to stop at nothing at creating human victims. An end must be put to this .As never before, it is vital to unite forces of the entire world community against terror”

-Vladimir Putin.

True that it creates human victims. But there should be proper forces acting against these militant groups to end. However, this is not the case in Nigeria. Boko Haram, the militant group in Nigeria is raging  as there is no strong funded army in Nigeria.

_74831288_civilian_death_in_boko_624In recent happenings, every week there is breaking news about the Boko Haram’s brutal terrorist activities taking place in Nigeria. Boko Haram has had a record of wide-scale killings, kidnappings, attacks on schools since 2009. According to the Human Rights Watch Report, Boko Haram was responsible for 900 deaths between 2009-2012 time frame. According to Al Jazeera, the largest attack was on a Catholic Church outside the country’s capital of Abuja.

Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria. Boko Haram  also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja. It has abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls and has a control over several north-eastern towns. The latest innovation by these cruel people is bombing by children, which is sad as well as terrific. The incident which took place recently was carried out by a seven year old girl, who was the suicide bomber in north-eastern Nigeria on 22nd February, 2015.

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Boko Haram is imposing a significant risk by increasing links to some international jihadist movements. For ex-Al Qaeda. There should be a Strong government to suppress all these activities. People in Nigeria and the wider region are hoping that the election will bring a change. The presidential elections were initially scheduled on February 14, 2015 but later on postponed for six weeks for security challenges facing by the government. Now the elections are taking place on 28th March, 2015 and 11th April,2015.

In an interview with Nigerian newspaper ThisDay  published over the weekend, President Goodluck Jonathan conceded that his government had underestimated the group. “Probably at the beginning, we, and I mean myself and the team, we underrated the capacity of Boko Haram” he said. The sectarian divisions between Christians and Muslims led to the formation of Boko Haram. There are several reasons but the two main reasons will be a) Muslim areas which are disconnected by central government of Nigeria and b) under equipped army.

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According to the New Humanist Report, There are some neglected regions by Nigerian Government and some initially accepted support by the Islamic Groups. These groups filled up the spaces in local populations which are ignored by Government which is already corrupted. And then these acceptances of Islamic groups lead to the deaths of many people, kidnapping of hundreds of children and so on. The US offered surveillance and intelligence help after Boko Haram kidnapped 279 schoolgirls last April during a raid in Chibok, deep in north-eastern Nigeria, sparking global outrage. But an American plan to equip a new Nigerian battalion ended last month in an acrimonious squabble between Washington and Abuja. So, clearly it is showing the reason is the sectarian divisions by the government.

Army in Nigeria did not prove to be an asset to the Nigerian Government .The first reason will be there is no proper training and motivation given to the army. And also, there are no funds to develop the equipment of the army. So overall, it is underfunded, undermined and under equipped. Recently, Boko Haram attacked on Baga, a village in Borno state. The Nigerian army was defeated immediately and allowed to them to control the state’s border. However, the Nigerian Government gave an announcement this week that Baga is taken back into control from Boko Haram.

According to Premium times, On 25th February, 2015 Kenneth Minima, Nigeria’s chief of Army informed that the elections would be held in the territories recovered from Boko Haram insurgents. The electoral commission, INEC, had earlier said it could only hold elections in safe areas including legally recognised camps for displaced persons. Now the question what if they are unable to recover other territories from the control of Boko Haram? Is it that the displaced people and others who are under the control do not have a chance to vote? The Army Chief told that he is trying to boost soldier’s morale. And also, the army did not provide many vehicles to the journalists to cover the recaptured borders. However, only a government television crew was embedded on the flight trip to Baga.

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Meanwhile On 24th February, 2015 U.S. Department of State warned American citizens about the dangers of traveling to and within Nigeria during the country’s 2015 elections next month and also added “There is presently no reason to believe that U.S. citizens would be specifically targeted in the event of election-related violence”.

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The ruling PDP party is in the government since 1999. According to BBC News, The election involves lot of blatant voter intimidation, vote rigging, and other illegal practices. Hopefully the elections would go peacefully and also legally bound elections with as many voters who wish for a change. Hope the Nigerian Army flushes Boko Haram in six weeks and make the slogan “NEVER AGAIN” to be true.

 

 

By Pavani Chennamasetti

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