Check Boko Haram

March 05, 2014 - 1:19:44 am

The impunity with which Boko Haram has been killing hundreds in Nigeria points to the Islamist group gaining in strength.

As wobbly African states struggle to deal with local problems, and the West is consumed by issues of geopolitical importance — like Ukraine — Nigeria-based Boko Haram keeps its killing machine operating at full throttle. In another attack on a town yesterday, militants belonging to the Islamist group killed some 40 people. In a week, the terrorist organisation has claimed the lives of over 300 people in the troubled northeastern state of Borno.

World powers, however, have remained relatively calm as the terrorists, who survive on an anti-West ideology, keep propagating hate. The impunity with which Boko Haram has been operating raises eyebrows. Insurgency-related killings in other African countries like Kenya, Chad, Central African Republic have seen proactive actions or at least comments from Western powers. France has been working directly to help bring down communal unrest in the Central African Republic, which is its former colony. 

On Monday, the UN recommended deploying 11,820 peacekeepers in the strife-torn country, including 10,000 soldiers and 1,820 police officers. In a report sent to the Security Council, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon specified that the peacekeeping mission should focus, in the initial stage, on “the protection of civilians.” 

The international community including the United Nations has remained relatively aloof from the situation in Nigeria. 

Yesterday, United Nations aid agencies warned that people fleeing conflicts in Central African Republic and South Sudan are growing increasingly sick and hungry with children particularly at risk. A UN official specially mentioned the deaths of 15 malnourished children at the weekend who crossed over from Central African Republic into Cameroon. Few such comments from international organisations are forthcoming when children in Nigeria face death. A few days ago, Boko Haram militants killed 59 college students in an attack on the Federal College in Buni Yadi. Days before, the group killed dozens of school students.  Boko Haram’s ideology draws from a hatred of the West. Its name literally means western education is sacrilegious. The organisation is on a killing spree without facing much resistance from government troops. Probably, the repeated attacks in trouble-torn Borno have affected the morale of troops. 

Boko Haram has shown aspirations akin to leading Islamist organisations that try to rest all the bloodletting and destruction they bring about, on their egregious ideologies. Militancy of this nature needs to be curbed with an iron hand either by the government or with help from world powers, which may probably see an offshoot of the terror group emerge in another country. Though it is Nigeria and innocent Nigerians who are being killed now, the organisation if left unchecked, may consolidate to raise its head in a western nation.