On the Surface
In terms of the media in the United States and in other western nations, ISIS gets most of the coverage relating to terrorist organizations. However, Boko Haram (whose name literally translates to “Western education is not allowed”) is holding a reign of terror in its own right.
What is Boko Haram?
Boko Haram is an Islamist terrorist group founded in 2002 and based out of Nigeria. Its goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria under Sharia Law. Currently, Abubakar Shekau leads the group.
According to reports, Boko Haram has received financial backing from Al-Qaeda and Somali group Al-Shabaab. However, the terror sect is in the business of human trafficking and smuggling, both of which are very lucrative.
A Campaign of Violence
Boko Haram has been terrorizing Nigeria and surrounding areas in Cameroon since 2010, killing thousands and displacing thousands more. They have claimed responsibility for the decimation of an entire city, the abduction of more than 200 school girls in Chibok, and a series of bombings in public places (such as schools and markets).
In March of 2015, Boko Haram released a video proclaiming its allegiance with ISIS. Though the latter group is foundering, Boko Haram’s alliance could lead to an increased recruitment base, more weapons, and an expanded operation.
Stopping Boko Haram
Governments around the world have been reluctant to intervene in the conflict. While Nigeria has the largest army in West African, it has proven ineffective in expelling the terrorists. Corruption runs rampant in the Nigerian army, and this is cited as a key factor in its inefficacy.
More recently, the tide seems to be turning in the favor of the Nigerian military. It has reclaimed previously lost territory and recovered hundreds of women and girls held hostage by Boko Haram.
The key to this success is Nigerian President Buhari, a former army general who worked to eliminate corruption in the military. If Boko Haram is to be stopped, Nigeria needs to crack down on military corruption to have greater efficiency, and also form a regional coalition to repel the militants.