On the night of September 28, Boko Haram killed six people in an attack in the Lake Chad Basin region of Chad. The attack by the extremist terror group was repelled by the Chadian army. Boko Haram has been a consistent threat to the people of Nigeria and the surrounding region, who are already struggling with an economic crisis. With the resurgence of attacks in Chad over the past couple of months, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
According to security sources, in the attacks on Moussarom and Ngueleya in the Lake Chad region, two soldiers, three forestry officials, and one customs officer were killed. The Chadian troops killed 17 members of Boko Haram while the rest retreated.
Just a few days before this attack, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, was at the UN General Assembly and spoke about the problems facing his country, including Boko Haram. Buhari emphasized the need to address the “root causes” of the conflicts in the region “through multilateral cooperation and concerted action.” This is because Lake Chad has been shrinking over the past 50 years, causing economic instability and the displacement of people who relied on the lake for their livelihoods. Buhari said that the instability in the Lake Chad Basin makes people “vulnerable to the activities of extremists and terrorist groups.”
To fully address the conflict with Boko Haram, any solution needs to look at the big picture of what is going on in Nigeria and the surrounding region. According to analyst Chris Ngwodo, “the emergence of Boko Haram signifies the maturation of long-festering extremist impulses that run deep in the social reality of northern Nigeria.” So, the violent attacks by Boko Haram are just the tip of the conflict and instability. One proposed way to address the root of the conflict is through education. At the UN General Assembly, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation pledged to help address the Boko Haram issue through education and correcting the indoctrination of Boko Haram’s ideas that has been used to sustain the group’s membership and movement.
Since 2009, Boko Haram has killed over 20,000 people and displaced over 2 million. They are based in northeastern Nigeria, but the conflict expanded into Chad in 2015. Despite multiple claims throughout the years that Boko Haram has been defeated and internal disputes over the leadership of the group, Boko Haram has remained strong. There have been many kidnappings and suicide bombings in recent months. During the previous attack in Chad, which occurred on July 22, 18 people were killed.
Through raids and ransom money demands, Boko Haram has gained a vast amount of resources over the past nine years. So, despite being pushed into more remote areas, it won’t stop disrupting the area and go away easily, especially while poverty and instability still exist and provide a steady stream of new recruits. It is good that the surrounding countries are helping Nigeria to fight off attacks from Boko Haram, but merely fighting these militants off until they retreat back to Nigeria doesn’t solve the problem in the long term. There needs to be more coordination between neighboring countries to work together to address the deeper problems. Outside funding to confront issues like education, climate change, and economic instability would indirectly decrease violence from Boko Haram by solving the environmental and social factors that have sustained the organization’s activities all these years. Overall, the offshoot of violence with the recent attack in Chad is a reminder of the existence of the larger instability from which Boko Haram grew and a call for continued negotiations to bring an end to the violence.
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