Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Boko Haram: spreading fear and blood in Nigeria and beyond

29 November 2014, 15:11

Lagos - A suicide and gun attack that killed at least 120 at one of the most well-known mosques was extreme in its brutality but part of an increasingly familiar pattern that has spread fear even beyond Nigeria's borders.

Unsuspecting worshippers were blown up as they gathered for Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in the northern city of Kano; those who survived were cut down by gunfire as they fled.

The attack was widely seen as revenge for the Muslim Emir of Kano's call at the same mosque last week for civilians to arm and protect themselves against Boko Haram.

Also Read: UK censures deadly Kano suicide attack

"Boko Haram has repeatedly threatened religious and traditional leaders in northern Nigeria, who are seen by the group as allies and instruments of the state," said Andrew Noakes, of the Nigeria Security Network of analysts.

But it was also in keeping with the Islamist group's brutal violence over a greater geographical area in the last few weeks -- and a likely wider strategy to further undermine national and regional security.

"Boko Haram are trying to create the perception that they are anywhere and everywhere," said Ryan Cummings, chief Africa analyst at the Red24 security consultants in Cape Town.

"It almost seems that the trend in the insurgency is reverting to that witnessed in 2012 when it seemed that Boko Haram was expanding rapidly westwards and southwards," he told AFP.

Shifting tactics

Just hours before the Kano massacre, a suspected remote-controlled roadside bomb, buried in the dirt near another mosque nearly 600 kilometres (375 miles) away in Maiduguri, was defused.

Maiduguri, where Boko Haram was founded in 2002, was already tense after two women blew themselves up within minutes of each other at a crowded market on Tuesday, killing more than 45 shoppers and traders.

The previous day, up to 50 people were killed in Damasak, 180 kilometres north of the city near the border with Niger, when Boko Haram fighters overran the town and ambushed those trying to escape.

Four days earlier, the militants slit the throats of and drowned at least 48 fish vendors in another town near Lake Chad.

Mass casualties from Boko Haram attacks are not a new phenomenon in the extremists' five-year insurgency. More than 13,000 people are thought to have died in total since 2009.

But the regularity of attacks and the widening range of tactics -- from hit-and-run strikes to suicide bombings, holding territory and even, it seems, the new attempt to use Al-Qaeda-style roadside bombs -- marks a shift.

Violence had been concentrated for the last 18 months in the three far northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

But there have been a string of suicide strikes since June across the wider north.

Neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad are also voicing fears about possible attacks there, particularly as the dry season approaches, which makes natural defences such as rivers easier to breach.

Also Read: At least 120 dead in mosque suicide attack
One humanitarian source in Niger described a "psychosis of fear" about attacks in border areas, which this week forced the closure of schools and pharmacies.

Boko Haram is opposed to secular, "Western" style education and has regularly attacked schools, teachers and students.

Earlier this month, 58 schoolboys were killed in Potiskum, northeastern Nigeria, when a suicide bomber blew himself up before morning assembly.

Boko Haram is still holding 219 schoolgirls that it kidnapped in mid-April.

Regional fears

In Cameroon's far north, one military commander said they were "convinced" that Boko Haram's aim to declare a hardline Islamic state "is aimed not only at Nigeria but also at Cameroon".

The group has taken over more than two dozen towns in northeast Nigeria in recent months and declared some part of its caliphate, mirroring a similar declaration by militants in Iraq and Syria.

The Kano bombing and attacks elsewhere could be designed to make any renewed counter-insurgency efforts more difficult, analysts say.

Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria were supposed to have had a 2,800 troops in place along their borders by November 1, to assist the Nigerian army, which has struggled to put down the rebellion.

But as the year-end approaches, no deployment has been announced.

The Kano attack and others outside its traditional heartland leave Nigeria's authorities with a dilemma.

"It basically stymies the reallocation of resources from such regions to counter-terrorism operations being conducted" in the three worst-affected northeast states, said Cummings.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...