Boko Haram: Inside Nigeria's Unholy War
An insurgency in Nigeria by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has left thousands dead, shaken Africa's biggest country and worried the world. Yet they remain a mysterious―almost unknowable―organisation. Through exhaustive on-the-ground reporting, M.J. Smith takes readers inside the violence and provides the first in-depth account of the conflict. He traces Boko Haram from its beginnings as a small Islamist sect in Nigeria's remote northeast, led by a baby-faced but charismatic preacher, to its transformation into a hydra-headed monster, deploying suicide bombers and abducting innocent schoolgirls. Much of the book is told through the eyes of Nigerians who have found themselves caught between the violence of a shadowy group of insurgents, brutal security forces accused of horrifying abuses and an inept government led by an accidental president. It includes the voices of a forgotten police officer left paralysed by an attack, women whose husbands have been murdered and a sword-wielding vigilante using charms to fend off insurgent bullets. It journeys through the sleaze and corruption that has robbed Africa's biggest oil producer of its potential, making it such fertile ground for extremism. Along the way it questions whether there can be any end to the violence and the ways in which this might be achieved. Interspersed with history, this book delves into the roots of this unholy war being waged against the backdrop of an evolving extremist threat worldwide.
somehow lost her shoes – a problem since broken glass covered the stairs. ‘I suggest to Shalini that she clean up every step for the rescued lady to put her foot. A laborious task, but Shalini is up to it’, Alkari wrote. The condition of the second trapped woman was the complete inverse. She was calm, so much so that she was able to warn her rescuers before they moved her that her leg was broken. There was also another problem: a second piece of the wall was in situ and had to be moved to get
area, and the police were said to have arrested some of them on 20 December 2003. Less than two weeks later, on 31 December, the group launched a series of attacks on police stations, stealing weapons along the way, including at least five AK-47s from police in Kanamma.55 The wave of violence lasted four days, and Ali was said to have been among those killed in the unrest. More attacks would occur in September 2004 in Borno state, leading to a clash with soldiers near the border with Cameroon. It
It had already been a remarkably accidental political career for Jonathan, the son of a canoe maker born in the village of Otuoke in the swampy Niger Delta. He was a slow-moving man who could seem uncomfortable speaking in public, uttering generalities and occasionally fumbling his words. Seeking to portray himself as an everyman in a country where so many live in poverty, he spoke of having no shoes or electricity when he was a boy. He would attend university and study zoology, eventually
country’s north would re-emerge under his watch with their most violent and sophisticated attacks yet. * * * It had been almost a year since the dark days of July 2009, and the insurgents from what everyone now called Boko Haram, at least those who had survived, had gone underground. Mohammed Yusuf’s mosque still lay in ruins, an uncleared pile of rubble guarded by policemen who kept people from lingering in the area and refused to allow photos to be taken without prior permission from the
there, unwilling to participate in the gruesome task ahead. I understood, of course, and began walking straight back toward the morgue, not wanting to waste any time and hoping not to be stopped. As the morgue came within view, I could make out some of the bodies, still lying on the ground, and I pushed on reluctantly towards them. I would not, however, get much further. A yell – ‘hey!’ – punctured the air and I knew it was for me. At first I tried to ignore it and keep walking, but I heard it