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Boko Haram on the March
Nigerian Capital Rocked by Car Bomb

For the second time in a month, Boko Haram launched a devastating attack on civilians in Nigeria’s capital. At least 19 people were killed when a car bomb exploded in Abuja late on Thursday night. The site of the attack was not far from a horrific blast at a bus station that killed scores of people, perhaps hundreds—the exact number is uncertain.

The World Economic Forum on Africa will take place in Abuja in just a few days. According to the website for the “foremost gathering on the continent,” Nigeria “already plays a crucial role in advancing the continent’s growth” and represents the “continent’s largest business opportunity.” Contrast that lofty language with the death and destruction on display just down the road.

President Goodluck Jonathan was defiant. “We shall triumph over all this evil that wants to debase our humanity or obstruct our progress as a nation,” he said at a rally. “Those who want to redefine our country to be seen as a country of chaos will never succeed.” His government, however, has so far failed to bring to justice the people who kidnapped over 200 girls from a school in the north of the country, or even to find out where the girls are. That incident appears to have galvanized the country, with criticism of the government and security services growing around the country.

Like Egypt, Nigeria is one of those countries that is slowly circling the drain but not yet dropping into the abyss. The government and military appear incapable of maintaining security, and the country is slowly becoming more upset about those failures. As John Campbell writes, these recent incidents have “brought home to the Nigerian public that their country’s crisis cannot be walled-off in the far northeast of the country.”

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  • Anthony

    Just a thought: in Nigeria as in other impacted areas could one conclude unintended consequences from Libyan adventure – no good deed goes unpunished.

  • gabrielsyme

    Nigeria, with its relatively strong economy and oil wealth ought to be able to put in the field a respectable counter-terrorism force. Its failure to do so shows not Nigeria’s poverty, but its sclerotic and corrupt governmental system. Ultimately, Nigeria needs to address the threat of radical Islam in its north, as much by propaganda as by military means.

    Nigeria cannot afford to ignore the religious character of its internal terrorist threat, and should use both Christian missionary activity and peaceful Muslim leaders to erode the power and support base of Islamic terrorists.

  • Andrew Allison

    History suggests that President Jonathon will need more than good luck to win this battle.

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