God Wars
Can Buhari Beat Boko Haram?

In call-and-response sequence, a bombing perpetrated by Boko Haram-linked militants in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Tuesday claimed dozens of Nigerian lives. This came mere days after the swearing in of new President Muhammadu Buhari, whose successful campaign was based on a pledge to eradicate the Islamist militant group, which has captured swaths of land in the war-torn northern region of the country. The LA Times reports:

Fighters believed to be from Boko Haram attacked Maiduguri before dawn Tuesday, then melted away. Hours later, a bomb exploded at a meat market, killing as many as 50 people, according to news agencies. […]

The blast at a market was widely blamed on Boko Haram and was seen as an ominous response to President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to crush the militant Islamist group.

At his swearing-in Friday, Buhari called Boko Haram “godless” and “mindless” and said his top priority on taking office was to destroy it. He announced he was moving the command center of the military to Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, at the center of the battle.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and its vast oil resources have made it the largest economy on the continent. The success of the fight against insurgents will be the biggest factor in the future of the continent’s God Wars. If Buhari can whip the Nigerian military into good enough shape to score some big wins, it would be a ray of light in a darkening story. But for now, the earliest signs make it look as though Buhari’s ascension hasn’t been enough to stem the tide of violence.

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