Profiles leaders of the group and explains its history of attacks Includes footnotes for further reading Includes a table of contents
"Boko Haram are better armed and are better motivated than our own troops. Given the present state of affairs, it is absolutely impossible for us to defeat Boko Haram." - Kashim Shettima, governor of Borno
On the morning of April 15, 2004, the world woke up to the extraordinary news of the kidnap in a little known hamlet of Nigeria of some 276, primarily Christian schoolgirls, by the radical militant Nigerian insurgent group Boko Haram. Almost overnight, the group, which had resided somewhat on the fringes of global consciousness up until that point, found itself at the forefront as international public outrage, culminating in a social media campaign headed by First Lady Michelle Obama, demanded the immediate return of the kidnapped girls.
Those demands, while laudable, simply served to project a hitherto local and regional jihadist movement, operating in the gray hinterland of the African Sahel region, into an organization with an international profile and a place in the pantheon of globally recognized terror organizations. If anything, the headlines have probably imbued Boko Haram with more punch than it can practically wield, for in reality the organization, at least for the time being, it remains less a jihadist movement that a localized terror insurgency with very locally defined objectives. If Boko Haram does indeed nurture international ambitions, which increasingly it appears to, then these perhaps are a fringe expression of a movement that appears in on the whole, again at least for the time being, to be too haphazard, and chaotic in its administration and leadership to really find a home amongst the larger and better known international organizations.
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