Nigeria attacks: What Boko Haram assault means

 
A man inspects the burnt-out wreckage of motorcycles destroyed by multiple explosions and armed assailants in the Marhaba area of the northern Nigerian city of Kano, on January 21, 2012

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Some thoughts on the implications of the devastating Kano bombings:

- Boko Haram has shown, once again, that it keeps its promises. It warned several months ago that it would react violently if its jailed members were not released. "These are people who live up to their word," Nigerian human rights activist Shehu Sani told me.

- The scale and coordination of the attacks reveal an organisation growing in confidence and ambition, and seemingly committed to a long-term insurgency.

- The Nigerian authorities - routinely accused of mishandling and fuelling the insurgency through the heavy-handed actions of security forces - have reportedly allocated 25% of this year's national budget to defence. Many here fear that a strategy of confrontation, rather than dialogue, will condemn the region to long-term instability.

- Claims that Boko Haram have received training from Somalia's Al Shabaab have been given added strength by the sophisticated nature of the operation.

- Boko Haram may be a murky organisation with a range of targets and agendas - it has attacked Christians and the United Nations in recent months - but its main focus remains "the establishment" and the police in particular, which it blames for the 2009 killing, while in custody, of its former leader.

- There is a widespread belief that sympathetic elements in the security forces are, at the very least, cooperating with Boko Haram. It remains difficult to know how true that is, and how much is paranoia/propaganda.

- It's hard to gauge the level of public support the group enjoys. Millions in the north may share its goal of an Islamic state, but precious few have endorsed its violent tactics and many moderate Muslims have been targeted by it.

- Prominent Muslim groups and local politicians have publicly condemned the attacks. However, many commentators believe those same people are content to sit on the side-lines, knowing that the violence puts extra pressure on a central government widely accused of favouring the south of the country over the predominantly Muslim north.

- Nigeria seems unlikely to become an Islamic state. Warnings of disintegration also seem exaggerated. But Boko Haram has evolved into a serious security threat far more quickly than many had anticipated. Still, some analysts still feel President Jonathan may be misreading or exaggerating the group's strength for his own political/tribal purposes.

- All this has badly shaken Nigeria. But this is still a dynamic, developing democracy with a booming economy and plenty of reasons for optimism

 
Andrew Harding Article written by Andrew Harding Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 33.

    How do BK get their weaponry ? It clearly comes over the unsupervised
    Sahel borders. A wall or fence or minefield needs to be constructed over the whole of the Northern border. When BK run out of munitions what will they do? Meanwhile they need to be hunted down and neutralised. A garrison is needed. .

  • rate this
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    Comment number 32.

    Most comentators seem to get some facts wrong. there are more Christians in Nigeria than Muslims. Northern muslim leaders always try to block this fact.. So, i wonder how this muslim state dream can work here. the geographycal spread of the tribes and religions makes desintegration difficult along any line hard. millons of northerners are christians, likewise, millions of southerners are muslims.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 31.

    leo_udie58, British and American people HATE the violence in Nigeria. Nigerians need to manage their immense wealth so that it is evenly distributed. And if Nigerians are fooling themselves, who should redress the situation? Nigerians - not Brits or Americans!

    Bring in an effective education system, train the teachers, open minds - so that the people have a real voice and resentment is quashed.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 30.

    The huge plains of Northern Nigeria could be the bread basket of Africa if properly managed. Not since Audu Bako was governor of Kano State and Aminu Kano was changing the political landscape has the North had any wise and progressive leaders. Education and the eradication of poverty is the key to saving the north

  • rate this
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    Comment number 29.

    @BAFANA AND KINGSLEY IF U GUYS THINK THAT THE NORTHERNER CAN NOT TO CARE OF THEIR SELF BY THERE RESOURCE LET NIGERIA BE DIVIDED AND LET SEE NORTH AND SOUTH WHO WILL SUFFER IT MOST.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 28.

    I really think the British and American people are very happy with the voilence in Nigeria. Who supplies the amunitions and the intelligence to the faction? Off course, the BBC knows the truth. While we are busy destroying our economy and people, they ( Britain and America) are busy and gleefully carting away our crude. Let nigerians continue to fool themselves.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 27.

    By the grace of God, we shall overcome this

  • rate this
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    Comment number 26.

    Boko Haram was operating in a low-key manner in the early 1980s, causing distress to anyone displaying western tendencies (like wearing buttons - yes, buttons!). I believe that the origins of the movement lie in poverty, and the obscene wealth-gap that is a fact of life in Nigeria.The only way to move forward is through education.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 25.

    There is a very strong case for the revival of Biafra, not least because the Igbos suffered disgracefully following the civil war but have been the least problematic of Nigeria's people since. The hard working and clever Igbos deserve a better country to live in. And until the poor people of the north are truly emancipated they will always be suscepible to Boko Haram.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 24.

    This is a very complicated issue. Britain indeed did make a country out of a number of differnt groupings which are not naturally one nation. That was over 50 years ago and anythingthat happens now is the responsibility of those who live in Nigeria. There is continuous and massive theft of Nigeria's resources going on as it has done since independence BY NIGERIANS.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 23.

    It is neighbouring countries like Chad, Niger and Cameron that continue to finance Boko haram. They let them cross into Nigeria with arms. They arm them with Government equipments and claim they came from libya. Is about time Nigerian Government start sending those countries a massage. They should be open with the Government of Nigeria. They should not think that they are too far away from Nigeria

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 22.

    Before everything is turned on Harding i would like to ask a question.......The problems may have been caused by our colonial masters, but why is is that we Africans, decades after independence are still fighting and divided?
    in the words of Martin Luther kin , "why can we all just get along" Britain and colonialism maybe the cause, but we the people fighting and killing, are the problem

  • rate this
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    Comment number 21.

    Andrew Harding, I recommend that you write another article and tell the WORLD what britain is really benefiting from nigeria & what nigeria is benefit from britain? He stood for peace, equity, justice and respect of law. Ojukwu is a hero who would loved the colonia masters apologise for what they did in Nigeria. but while obasanjo was in UK he said ojukwu should apologize.just to please the queen

  • rate this
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    Comment number 20.

    Andrew Harding, plenty of curruption. your kingdom encouraged african rulers to lute their national fund and bank them in europe. yes, no empire reigns for ever. the british empire will fall more than this. watch outtt. the fact they mis-calculated nigeria b4 dependent proofs they are not quite perfect. they relied on hausa, fulani but are being disappointed by the same hausa, fulani. shame on u

  • rate this
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    Comment number 19.

    Andrew Harding, again, this is one of the pictures to see that africans are not independent. this is why we are very poor. they continue ruling us through our rulers not leaders, yes, of course they are not our leaders. they installed these rulers by force. all african rulers are western laborers. they are paid monthly by their various colonial power

  • rate this
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    Comment number 18.

    ethan farber has said it all. we just have to take the Sudan route or rekindle the Biafara flames. whichever way, it would be difficult pill but the next generation will not meet this mess.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    Andrew Harding, are you a nigeria?hausa?fulani?yoruba?Nupe? kanuri? Tiv what has englands got to do wit it,are you african by birth? Y must U advocate 1 nigeria? for whose interest? i thought ur kingdom already gave us independen? or it was a joke? who benefit from 1 nigeria? can the kingdom of britain share ONE nation with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia? or are you teling us we are not independen?

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 14.

    If you was a member of the igbo ethnic group your article could have mean something. now, i believe white people don't just care about africa. they don't just care about black people and I pray my fellow africans will understand this sooner than later. these people are the mean reason why africa is useless. they are the reason why africa has everything but is very poor. they sell our resources.

 

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