mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Terror in Nigeria
Nobody Can Stop Boko Haram

The crisis in Nigeria is getting worse as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee Boko Haram, now that it is “hitting its stride.” The WSJ:

Local authorities said Tuesday that in a fresh exodus from violence, hundreds of people continued to flee Gwoza, a town of about 50,000 near Nigeria’s remote border with Cameroon that suspected Boko Haram fighters overran last Wednesday. Boko Haram has made the surrounding Borno state the epicenter of its insurrection against Nigerian soldiers, Christians and—increasingly—civilians who stand in its way. […]

Manzo Ezekiel, a spokesman for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, estimated that 3 million Nigerians are facing “serious humanitarian challenges” because a breadwinner has been killed in the turmoil or they are too scared to plant the crops they will need to survive through the dry season.

One of Boko Haram’ s core goals is to drive Christians out of the mostly Islamic north. At the same time, it is fighting to wrest control of the region away from traditional northern power brokers: hereditary sultans whose power dates from pre-British times, heads of Sufi brotherhoods, and various military and political figures. Neither Nigeria’s government nor the Muslim leaders in the north have been able to stop the terror group’s march toward these two objectives. The army is both brutal and ineffective. The government’s economic development plans have been hobbled by corruption, and its local administration in large areas is increasingly paralyzed by fear.

However, to the extent that ethnic and religious cleansing deepens Nigeria’s divides, the stability of the whole country is affected. Generally speaking, the south is wealthier than the Muslim north, both because the oil is there and because southern Nigeria has embraced globalization more wholeheartedly. Soon, the Christians in the south may start to fight back.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Andrew Allison

    Let’s be absolutely clear that the horrors being inflicted upon Christians in the North are the result of Nigerian misgovernment. The country ranks among the most corrupt in the world and, as the post elucidates, governance in the North has been essentially feudal. It is extremely unlikely that Boko Haram will be satisfied with ejecting Christians from the North, or that the South can resist them. Callous as it may be, Nigeria is reaping what it has sown. The question is what, if anything, should the rest of the world do about it? Simply put, is the world ready, willing and able to embark on another Crusade? I think not, especially given the more immediate threat posed by ISIS.

    • Gene

      “When a man knows he is to be
      hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Don’t give up on them so quickly.

    • Johnny May

      Blaming corrupt politicians for the violence is wrong for it absolves the perpetrators of those gruesome crimes of their responsibility. The mismanagement of the Nigerian government like the sectarian policies of Maliki in Iraq have certainly provided the ground on only which insurgencies like ISIS or Boko Haram could flourish, but neither have created them. Sure, with a better administration they would have never gotten off the ground and fought against in their infancies.

      When someone leaves the door to his house unlocked, he certainly must concede neglect or carelessness. But ultimately it is the burglar that is the criminal, as he still entered the home on his own and wasn’t “made to” do it.

  • FriendlyGoat

    “Somebody” is going to stop Boko Haram. The questions are: At what cost? —and— After what has been lost?

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service