Boko Haram threatens again Cameroon and northern Nigeria’s

Back    Forward

Electoral promise by Nigerian President Muhammad Bukhari’s, severely ill for months, to definitively free the nation from Boko Haram’s terror and bring peace back to being abstract, as confirmed by repeated attacks by the Nigerian extremist group.

The latest bloodbath lasts Monday when a suicide bomber exploded by destroying a mosque in the London Ciki district of Maiduguri, where at least 8 people have been killed and 18 wounds.

The spokesman Danbatta Bello with the Civilian-JTF self-defence force set up in the state of Borno to integrate security forces on the field, reported that there were three other kamikaze women ready to attack the area, one of which was blocked not far away, while two others were killed by the police.

Monday’s attack was the second in a week to be perpetrated by girls in the capital of the federal state of Borno. Another carnage had been consumed on July 10, when a fourfold attack committed by kamikaze women in the Molai Kolemari area killed 19 people and another 23 were seriously injured.

Cameroon back into the viewfinder

The Islamist group has killed more than 20,000 people, kidnapped thousands of civilians, and continues to spread terror even in neighbouring countries, as evidenced by the attack on July 13 in Waza, in the extreme north of Cameroon, 8 kilometres from the Nigerian border. Here, two female suicide bombers attacked, causing 15 deaths and 42 wounded in a in a commercial neighbourhood that hosts restaurants, kiosks, and telephone cafés, indicating that the objective was to maximise civilian casualties.

Also in northern Cameroon, on June 2, two children forced to be martyred, exploded near an area of ​​displaced people in the city of Kolofata, killing 9 people and injuring 15.

Both attacks have not been claimed, but the Yaounde authorities have no doubts regarding the responsibility of the actions at Boko Haram, leading them to a series of attacks started on 30 June 2016 in Djakana, a locality not far from Waza, where a suicide bomber exploded in a mosque killing 11 people.

According to local military forces, the attacks on Cameroon territory would be a retaliation for the massive military operation organized by the MNJTF joint multinational force in 2015 and still on-going along the borders of northeast Nigeria.

Serious damage to local economies

Another serious problem is the damage caused by the long series of jihadist attacks on local economic framework. The question was examined by Hilary Matfess, a researcher at Yale University’s Political Science Department and author of bookWomen and the War on Boko Haram, forthcoming next Fall with Zed Books.

The scholar has published an article on Foreign Affairs, which describes how the work of the central government has helped to plummet the situation by hindering trade in the northern areas of Nigeria.

According to the US researcher, on the one hand the insurgency of Islamic extremists against the Nigerian state has devastated much of the basin of Lake Chad, on the other, the measures adopted by the Federal Government of Abuja to counter Boko Haram are severely damaging the local economy.

The article notes that in 2016 a joint report by the World Bank and the European Union estimated that jihadist attacks and offenses caused $ 9 billion worth of damages only in that region.

The analysis also highlights all the limits of the Boko Haram strategy adopted by the Nigerian federal government, which, through heavy restrictions on trade and economic activities in northern Nigeria, left thousands of people without work.

Fighting against Boko Haram is not over

The current situation is summarized by the data collected by ACLED, the project that monitors the sites and collects data on armed conflicts, according to which Nigeria has recorded a general trend of decreasing violence in 2016.

The fight against Boko Haram, since February last year, has reported important success culminating in the killing and capture of a large number of militants, giving the opportunity to regain important parts of the territory occupied by the jihadist group.

This result was achieved thanks to the support of the MNJTF, made up of troops from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, as well as a crackdown on corrupt military officials.

The group, however, has shown signs of resurgence in recent months, launching a spate of deadly bombings in the north-east, including an attack on the University of Maiduguri. 

According to a report by SBM Intelligence, a strategic consulting firm specializing in the analysis of the Nigerian socio-political and economic situation, in the first six months of 2017, Boko Haram carried out 43 attacks, resulting in more than 200 civilians deaths.

To compensate for the loss of large territories, Boko Haram adopted a new strategy to intensify suicide attacks against civilians and raids on rural communities. And the recent wave of bombings proves that the fight is not over.


Continue reading this article and all other Eastwest and content.

Subscribe for 1 year and gain unlimited access to all content on plus both the digital and the hard copy of the geopolitical magazine for € 45, or gain 1 year of unlimited access to only the website and digital magazine for € 20