Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants: Six reasons they have not been defeated



Supporters of the "Coalition of Northern Groups" (CNG) rally to urge authorities to rescue hundreds of abducted schoolboys, in northwestern state of Katsina, Nigeria on December 17, 2020

Supporters of the “Coalition of Northern Teams” (CNG) rally to induce authorities to rescue lots of of kidnapped schoolboys, in northwestern state of Katsina, Nigeria on December 17, 2020

The phrase that Nigerian militant group Boko Haram had been “technically defeated” is ringing more and more hole.

Seven months into his first time period in 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari coined the time period, however the group and its offshoots have by no means gone away.

The navy has managed to retake territory and dislodged the fighters from a few of their hideouts. However a latest spike in lethal violence, centered within the north-east, the place the Islamist group started its insurgency in 2009, has led many to ask what’s on the root of the authorities’ failure.

Already this 12 months there have been practically 100 assaults, in accordance with one estimate, on each civilian and navy targets. A whole lot have been killed and weapons, meals and medicines have all been looted.

There are six essential the explanation why Boko Haram has not been defeated regardless of the federal government claims, consultants say.

1: Root causes not addressed

An over-reliance on a navy technique to confront Boko Haram is on the coronary heart of the state’s incapability to take care of the risk, argues safety analyst Kabiru Adamu from Beacon Consulting.

“That is why, sadly, nearly 11 or 12 years into the counter-insurgency operation, we’re not seeing main successes,” he advised the BBC.

“Sure, the navy will dislodge the terrorists however then as a result of they’re nonetheless in a position to train affect, they’re in a position to recruit, they’re in a position to generate funding, they’re in a position to purchase weaponry, then they regroup.”

Woman standing in front of a thatched hut

A whole lot of hundreds have fled their properties in north-east Nigeria and located shelter in displaced individuals’s camps

Consultants say that it’s not that individuals within the north-east sympathise with Boko Haram and its splinter group, the Islamic State’s West Africa Province, however that neglect from the authorities and desperation usually drive individuals into the fingers of the militants.

“The fact is that to handle insurgency or terrorism, you want greater than navy operation. You have to deal with the basis causes of the insurgency,” Mr Adamu says.

“Sadly we have not seen sufficient efforts in that regard.”

He factors to a scarcity of fine governance that leaves the inhabitants impoverished, annoyed and uneducated as “one enormous root trigger”.

There are main authorities initiatives that should pace up growth within the north-east, however little progress has been made.

There may be additionally the Nationwide Counter-Terrorism Technique which additionally includes financial growth and counter-radicalisation, along with the deployment of troops. However Mr Kabiru says it seems the technique just isn’t being absolutely carried out.

Others, like Safety analyst on the Tony Blair Institute for Change, Bulama Bukarti, argue that together with deradicalisation there ought to be an enormous surge in navy exercise much like what was seen in Iraq and Syria when the Islamic State group’s so-called caliphate was dismantled.

2: Boko Haram’s means to recruit

The endemic poverty in elements of the area in addition to the insurgents’ violent strategies allow the continued recruitment of era after era of fighters, consultants say.

Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria. 2014-2021.  The 2021 figure covers up to April.

Boko Haram assaults in Nigeria. 2014-2021. The 2021 determine covers as much as April.

“Persons are available for recruitment simply to outlive,” safety knowledgeable Abdullahi Yalwa stated, citing the issues of joblessness and poor governance.

Mr Bukarti highlights the “systematic marketing campaign of compelled recruitment of younger individuals”.

Borno state Governor, Babagana Zullum, lately advised the BBC that the insurgents have been even recruiting individuals who had beforehand been compelled from their properties by the battle itself.

3: Lack of kit

Even in terms of the combating there’s the issue of weaponry, in accordance with Mr Adamu, who says that the navy is ill-equipped.

Military commanders inspect arms and ammunitions recovered from Boko Haram jihadists on display at the headquarters of the 120th Battalion in Goniri, Yobe State, in Nigeria's restive northeast on July 3, 2019

The navy have managed to seize some weapons from Boko Haram, as seen right here in 2019

Analysis by his agency, Beacon Consulting, discovered that there have been about 6.5 million small arms and light-weight weapons in circulation in Nigeria however simply 586,000 are within the fingers of safety forces.

It isn’t the case that all the the rest are being utilized by the Islamist militants, however the figures spotlight that there are an enormous quantity of weapons out there that aren’t within the navy’s management.


Mr Adamu additionally says that “what we’re seeing based mostly on proof is that these [armed] teams have a better calibre of weapons, sadly, than the navy”.

4: Corruption

Corruption could also be one factor that’s holding the navy again in terms of enhancing its tools. It’s suspected that some huge cash meant to bolster the marketing campaign towards Boko Haram has ended up in officers’ pockets.

Mr Yalwa says that in some circumstances the struggle towards Boko Haram just isn’t being fought with “sincerity” and “it appears some individuals have turned it into merchandise and are into self-enrichment”.

In recent times, the navy was hamstrung by a US arms embargo over human rights abuses. President Buhari and his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, each complained that this was hampering counter-insurgency efforts.

However this was lifted by President Donald Trump in 2018 and because of this Nigeria is anticipating the supply of Tremendous Tucano plane. This could construct on the navy’s air superiority, which Mr Adamu believes just isn’t getting used to its full benefit.

Though there are claims that even this superiority just isn’t paying off.

5: Army technique not working

Mr Bukarti advised the BBC the insurgents seem to have “understood and tailored to the sample of navy airstrikes” and are benefiting from the troublesome terrain in Nigeria’s north-east to evade navy assaults.

Boko Haram at a look:

Protestor with a sign to save the schoolgirls

Boko Haram gained worldwide notoriety after kidnapping pupils at a lady faculty in 2014

  • Based in 2002

  • Initially centered on opposing Western schooling

  • Launched navy operations in 2009

  • Gained consideration in 2014 with Chibok kidnappings

  • Pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2015

  • Cut up into two factions in 2016

Who’re Boko Haram?

There are additionally different features of the technique which were criticised.

Over the previous 12 months the military has been withdrawing troops from smaller bases and concentrating them in massive formations referred to as Tremendous Camps.

This technique was adopted in early 2020 when troopers have been beneath common assault and their weapons have been being stolen.

Nevertheless, it has left huge swathes of rural communities unprotected, analysts say.

“We now have proof suggesting a rise in assaults on communities between the interval when the Tremendous Camps have been created and now. So clearly the Tremendous Camps left the agricultural communities extra susceptible,” argues Mr Adamu.

This has additionally devastated the livelihoods of individuals in north-east Nigeria who depend on fishing and crop farming, and had an impression on meals manufacturing.

The navy can also be hampered by gaps in intelligence gathering in addition to being unable to plug info leaks.

Because of this typically it seems that “the insurgents are forward of the navy”, Mr Yalwa says.

The military disputes this alleged drawback. Its spokesperson Mohammed Yarima lately stated that “troops are in excessive combating spirit and decided to as ever to clear the [north-east] area and the nation of vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists”.

6: Boko Haram’s affect is spreading

Including to the issues of coping with Boko Haram is that the insurgency, as soon as confined to the north-east, seems to be spreading.

There are issues that armed felony gangs in different elements of the north and centre of the nation are forging hyperlinks with the militants.

Final 12 months, Boko Haram launched a video claiming a presence in Niger state which is way from its typical space of operations. The authorities there issued an announcement in March saying Boko Haram fighters had infiltrated the state occupying forests and attacking communities.

Final December, then military chief Lt Gen Yusuf Tukur Buratai instructed that the struggle towards Boko Haram might proceed for one more 20 years if the civilian and navy approaches weren’t higher co-ordinated.

The hard-pressed residents of north-eastern Nigeria will hope that warning doesn’t come to move.


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