Boko Haram Attacks Nigerian Village, Death Toll Rises


 

Boko Haram, the extremist Islamic group based in north-eastern Nigeria, set a village in the northern region ablaze, killing 86 people including children.

This was one of many attacks carried out in the northern region. According to a report by Al-Jazeera released on February 1st, witnesses stated that the extremist group had set fire to the houses, and “opened fire on civilians on Saturday evening in the village of Dalori, leaving bullet-ridden and charred bodies strewn across the streets.” Troops were quick to come to the scene and prevent the group from attacking a nearby camp where roughly 25,000 refugees reside.

Included in this toll number of 86 are children. Attacks on children have been the center of focus for the group, as they rose to ‘stardom’ in the media in 2014 following the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls. The intended treatment of these girls were rape, and to be sold in the black market as brides. Earlier in 2013, Boko Haram had targeted students by rampaging school grounds, as well as kidnapping several females.

Judging by previous attacks, one of the main targets of Boko Haram is children. This probably accounts for the meaning of the group’s name too. A general translation, according to many sources, of Boko Haram, is “western education is a sin”. This fight for driving secular, western forms of influence from the state also stems from the religious tension between the Sunni north and Christian south. The founder of the group, Mohammed Yusuf, strongly believes that westernization resulted in damage within the nation, and so the group’s aim is simply to revert back to their traditional teachings, as according to the Qu’ran. Children and youths are the backbone of any nation; their education is a crucial part of shaping society. Not to mention that the more secular and educated a society is, the more likely society is to practice democracy. The project of getting more females educated has been accomplished in waves in the east, however it seems to be in detriment by many terrorist groups. Women in the Middle East are often repressed, but now have surfaced with the demand for more recognition and rights as females. By kidnapping women, Boko Haram takes out handfuls from the education system.

Globalization is supposed to bring prosperity and eliminate repression. However, in the case of Boko Haram, the results of globalization are bringing something else – weapons.

Boko Haram’s affiliation with other Islamic groups, such as Al-Qaeda, undermines their attempt to erase western influences within the state. The group procures its weaponry through ransoms and the black market, in which other Al-Qaeda affiliated groups participate. Having also pledged allegiance to ISIS, they receive weaponry that is in fact provided by America. It was reported that in 2015, ISIS stole approximately $656.4 million worth of equipment from the Iraqi military that was supplied by the west. As to how the other weapons surface in the black market is unknown, but there is a possibility that the supplies are stolen from other troops, and smuggled into other states by rebel allies.

Armed on a high scale than even ISIS, Boko Haram has taken the title as the deadliest terrorist group today. In the past six years, the group has claimed almost 20,000 people and have displaced 2.3 million. According to the United Nations, roughly 1 million children have had to leave school due to violence, many of them females.

Neelam Champaneri