Boko Haram Is Now a Mini-Islamic State, with Its Own Territory

David Blair, Telegraph, January 10, 2015

After days of razing villages and pitiless massacre, Boko Haram finished the week with its most chilling atrocity.

As people bustled through the Saturday market in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a device borne by a ten year-old girl exploded near the entrance.

A witness said the girl probably had no idea that a bomb had been strapped to her body.

The explosion just before lunch killed 20, including the girl, and injured 18, according to the police.

Boko Haram did not immediately claim the attack, but the Islamic insurgents have increasingly used young girls as human bombs as they carve an African “Caliphate” from the plains of northern Nigeria.

Today, Boko Haram controls about 20,000 square miles of territory–an area the size of Belgium.

Within this domain, the black flag of jihad flies over scores of towns and villages scattered across the neighbouring states of Borno and Yobe.

The latest conquest was the fishing town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad, which fell to the Islamists last Wednesday.

“For five kilometres (three miles), I kept stepping on dead bodies until I reached Malam Karanti village, which was also deserted and burnt,” one surviving fisherman, Yanaye Grema, said.

Boko Haram’s fighters have now achieved mastery over 11 local government areas with a total population exceeding 1.7 million people, according to the official 2006 census.

Once, the movement’s fighters would launch hit-and-run attacks on defenceless villages. Now, Boko Haram’s realm stretches from the Mandara Mountains on the eastern border with Cameroon to Lake Chad in the north and the Yedseram river in the west.

The Nigerian army, crippled by corruption and incompetence, has shown itself unable to resist the jihadist advance.

Last September, Abubakar Shekau, the self-styled “Emir” of Boko Haram, proclaimed his ambition to conquer a “Caliphate” and follow the example of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Diplomats believe this was a logical escalation of Boko Haram’s campaign.

“There is a copy-cat element at work here,” said Andrew Pocock, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria. “If Isil can declare a Caliphate, then so can we. Boko Haram want to be seen by their peers as grown-up jihadis. They want to show ‘we can control territory, we can control a Caliphate’.”

There is also a clear practical rationale for Boko Haram to capture territory. “Success–and they have had success–creates a different kind of requirement,” added Mr Pocock. “You need a place where you can base yourself and keep equipment and supplies and, indeed, captives. It means that you’ve got to hold territory.”

Shekau has established Boko Haram’s unofficial headquarters in the town of Gwoza in Borno state. This stronghold has been chosen with great care.

Gwoza is shielded from attack by the volcanic peaks of the Mandara Mountains spanning the nearby frontier with Cameroon. Most important of all, the surrounding area is the homeland of Shekau’s own ethnic group, the Kanuri.

From this base among his brethren, Shekau sends his fighters to strike across a vast area. The border with Cameroon means nothing to Shekau, since it slices directly through the area inhabited by the Kanuri. His men have frequently attacked villages in the neighbouring country, killing 68 of Cameroon’s soldiers in the last month alone.

Sometimes, Shekau’s goal is to grab more territory–as with the assault on Baga last week. Just as often, he dispatches his fighters on what can only be described as slave raids.

Boko Haram profits greatly from the trade in human beings. Last April, Shekau committed his most infamous act by abducting over 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, about 50 miles south-west of Gwoza, triggering a global campaign to “bring back our girls”. By his own admission, the girls were then sold into slavery.

Britain and France stamped out the slave trade in this part of Africa a century ago, but Boko Haram has succeeded in partially reversing this achievement. Today the ancient caravan routes running north across the Sahara are active once more, except that trucks have replaced camels as the means of conveying human cargo.

Boko Haram has expanded to a point where it defies simple categories. Its name is normally translated as “Western education is banned”, yet “boko” means “book” in the Hausa language, so “books are banned”would be more accurate.

In part, Boko Haram is a branch of al-Qaeda’s brand of jihadism. As well as seizing towns, Shekau’s men carry out suicide bombings in Nigerian cities, including Abuja. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Isil in Iraq, they have become expert users of improvised explosive devices. In particular, its men have mastered the technique of creating charges that are carefully shaped to destroy armoured vehicles.

In short, Boko Haram have learnt the classic tactics of al-Qaeda. Its operatives have picked up these skills from the jihadist tentacles stretching across the Sahel region of Africa. “Unquestionably, Boko Haram have benefited from the broader Sahelian jihadi network,” said Mr Pocock.

Yet at the same time, Boko Haram is a Kanuri tribal insurgency. In addition, the movement works as a criminal gang, profiting from theft, extortion and slave raiding. Shekau amounts to a global jihadist, crime boss and tribal rebel leader–all at the same time.

If there are limits to his ambitions, they have not been imposed by the Nigerian army. The 7th division was specially created to fight Boko Haram and deployed to Borno. In practise, it does little but try to mount a static defence of Maiduguri, the state capital. In common with the rest of the army, it lacks the mobility and the manpower to challenge Boko Haram’s control of the surrounding area.

The army may also lack the resolve. Last year, the federal government allocated 20 per cent of its budget to the armed forces–over £4 billion.

Yet precious little trickled down to the soldiers in the frontline, who remain poorly armed and equipped. Instead, a large proportion of the military budget simply disappeared into the pockets of senior officers.

Despite being the headquarters of the 7th division, Maiduguri lives under the constant threat of attack.

Oliver Dashe Doeme, the Roman Catholic Bishop in the city, said that 70 of the 150 churches in his diocese had been destroyed by Boko Haram. “We have many parishes which have been sacked and overrun,” he said. “Our major concern is not our buildings–it’s not the churches themselves–but our people who have been driven away from their homes. Some are living in mountains and forests, some are in Cameroon and some have gone elsewhere in Nigeria.”

About 10,000 Catholic refugees have gathered in Maiduguri after fleeing Boko Haram’s new domain, added Bishop Doeme.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who faces re-election next month, has declared an emergency in the three states most threatened by the Islamists. But Bishop Doeme has no confidence in the army’s ability to recapture the territory lost to Boko Haram.

“Nigeria is a very corrupt nation,” he said. “Our main problem is not that Boko Haram cannot be contained, but that you have a deep-seated corruption in high and low places. Many of our top military officers are gaining from what is happening here because it means that a lot of money is coming in their direction.”

Instead of being imposed by the army, the borders of Boko Haram’s new domain may be defined by the ethnic patchwork of northern Nigeria.

Shekau is confident of holding the territory inhabited by his fellow Kanuris, but his grip is looser wherever other groups hold sway.

He recently withdrew from a string of towns in Adamawa state, perhaps because they were inhabited by non-Kanuris.

Boko Haram possesses armoured personnel carriers, anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers–in other words, the heavy weapons of a conventional army. Despite all this firepower, the invisible borders of ethnicity may still be a brake on its expansion.

For Bishop Doeme, however, this comes as little consolation. “We have cases here of soldiers deliberately abandoning their armaments,” he said.

“There are cases of corrupt senior officers. The president should sack them so there is an example to the others–but that has never happened.

BokoMap

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  • anony

    My question is why do the governments of these countries allow such groups to exist? Obliterate these monsters.

    • IstvanIN

      They are not organized well enough nor are they honest enough. They do not have the structure we have or the capacity for it.

      • For an informative read, check out the Wikipedia article on the equipment of the Nigerian army. That hodge-podge of equipment from suppliers all over the world – of course with non-interchangeable parts and ammunition – screams out loud that officials were being bribed by the vendors to approve the purchases. Maintenance must be a complete nightmare.

  • MekongDelta69

    Is Boko Haram related to Procol Harum?!
    (“A Whiter Shade Of Pale”)

    /end of bad joke

    • Oil Can Harry

      I just downloaded Boko Haram’s new single “A Blacker Shade of Muslim”.

      It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it while circumcizing a young girl.

      • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

        LOL!!!!!

  • Don’t worry. We can always deploy an extra strength #HASHTAG at any time.

    • Reynardine

      Today, the US Military Cyberwarfare Division unveiled it’s NEWEST weapon: the double hashtag:

      ##BRINGBACKOURGIRLS##

      Quake in your boots, Boko Haram!

  • Cid Campeador

    They have their own personal piece of Real Estate?
    Nuke it AND THEM. Let the news go out to the world. It’s time for these beasts to be the ones who are afraid. Dust off those Neutron Warheads.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    On a site I post at, a Liberal posted a thread where he wanted to discuss what motivates Boko Haram to commit atrocities, but he wanted absolutely no discussion of Islam because he believed that Boko Haram’s actions were due to economic disparity and lack of education. Yes, that’s how lost Liberals are when it comes to militant Muslim atrocities.

    • anony

      These stupid liberals simply can’t understand that people who hate you actually exist. Why do they hate you? Simply because you are you.

    • Reynardine

      “If they can afford weapons, they can probably afford farming equipment.” is my go-to rebuttal. It’s a deeper issue.

    • IstvanIN

      Even in all black Nigeria? The libs are demented.

  • Luca

    Nigeria is an oil rich nation and they are a world leader in internet cafe workers, so how could all this turmoil and chaos have taken place? With a President like “Goodluck Johnathan” you would think they would be a first-world country by now.

    What could be the cause? Could it be racism? income inequality? lack of school funding?

    • John Barleycorn

      lack of building supplies ???

      • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

        Negros and muslims, the human A-bomb.

  • Simonetta

    The bozos are the greatest ‘race-realism’ anti-diversity recruiters ever! Get them hundreds of portable solar-powered high-resolution video cameras and a high bandwidth channel between their hellhole and civilization. Then let them record everything that they do and edit the stream into a nightly (African) reality TV show broadcast to the world. Africans being Africans — 24 hours a day. Big happy Black faces with big smiling teeth, 72 IQ, AK-47s, and non-stop bloody slaughter. All for the ol’ Allah Akbar!

    The diversity industry would be dead within a year and Amren would be bigger than Yahoo.

    • ISIS has done the world a similar favor with their inadvertent anti-Islam advertising campaign: beheadings, rape, sexual slavery, ethnic cleansing, the whole nine yards. They recently murdered a bunch of young boys (also Muslim, but apparently insufficiently so) for watching a soccer game.

      I’m even less interested in having Muzzies here than ever before.

  • Reynardine

    “Yet at the same time, Boko Haram is a Kanuri tribal insurgency. In
    addition, the movement works as a criminal gang, profiting from theft,
    extortion and slave raiding. Shekau amounts to a global jihadist, crime
    boss and tribal rebel leader–all at the same time.”

    Who says there are no black entrepreneurs these days?

    • cyrusthevirus

      Hope some idiotic left/liberals go out to Nigeria as aid workers and end up as slaves –what a laugh!!

  • IstvanIN

    Britain and France stamped out the slave trade in this part of Africa a century ago
    Wow, White people getting a little positive credit for once!

    • cyrusthevirus

      yeah typical White oppression -stopping good black initiative and hard work!

  • IstvanIN

    The only thing that really concerns me is the possibility that some Western government will want to send White troops to help the Nigerians.

    • cyrusthevirus

      Neo-colonialism obviously!!

  • dd121

    Fighting Boko Harm is not worth one American life. The more they’re engaged in killing each other, the less I care.

  • IKUredux

    I don’t care about nigerians. I don’t care about africans. I sure as hell don’t care about moslems. Enough is enough. How many more years and billions of dollars will need to be expended to cure an incurable problem? Enough is enough. We Whites can NOT cure the ills of genetic inferiority. Enough is enough. We Whites can NOT cure the malevolence of islam. Enough is enough. We Whites cannot assimilate these beasts, although, we have tried. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

      Well said. Sadly talking to a liberal is like talking to a brick wall. I would rather talk to a brick wall because it does not argue back with stupid views.

    • evilsandmich

      Even Nigerians don’t care about Nigerians. They can’t even stop the rampant graft long enough to keep their country from getting carved up and their population sold into slavery.

  • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

    I hope those black refugees do not come to the US or to the west. Then we will have more negro welfare queeens on the government dole.

  • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

    I support Boko Haram as long as they get rid of the negro race.

  • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

    I have more respect for the semites that return to israel, because then at least they do not cause trouble in the US. The ones that stay ehre are the problems by funding MTV and making white kids listen to negroid music and also act like negros. However, these semites then get US politicians like John McCain to suggest that the US should go to war on their behalf. Just look at an article today where that traitor John suggets that the US should send ground troops to combat ISIS and then see who is standing next to him in that picture. (Hint: with a hat on wearing a black coat).

  • Bantu_Education

    Interesting how blacks, and black muslims especially, revert to taking slaves as soon as whitey is out of the way.