The turn of Boko Haram
While events in Ukraine and the Levant occupy our thoughts, Boko Haram is "poised to explode any day" like Islamic State.
Little noticed in western circles, the al-Qaeda affiliate declared a caliphate last week and then proceeded to sweep across the Nigerian state of Borno where it captured the city of Gwoza, a town of 275,000 residents.
Recruits are flocking to their banner and they are growing in size and sophistication. Also growing, is their lust for blood.
Bridget Johnson of PJ Media tracks their progress:
“Boko Haram has the potential to explode any day, like ISIS. Now we have a major international crisis to deal with in Iraq. The international community must not let this terror continue,” [Rep. Frederica] Wilson said.
“We still tweet daily, #BringBackOurGirls, for the safe return of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. We have a large and supportive following and our purpose is to show the world that Boko is a major threat.”
On the heels of the capture of Gwoza, Boko Haram seized Gamboru Ngala near Lake Chad at the Cameroon border. The terrorist assault was so fierce that, in a historical first for the large West African nation, it drove about 480 Nigerian soldiers into Cameroon. The fight for the strategic location gave Boko Haram a valuable transit point to stock their new caliphate with arms and other necessities.
Boko Haram seized control of Buni Yadi in late August, a city in neighboring Yobe state that signified a westward outpost for the terror group. In February, jihadists slaughtered 59 boys at a boarding school here and torched the educational facilities.
In the first days of September, Boko Haram has gained even more momentum.
The terrorists seized control of Madagli, a town in Adamawa state near the Cameroon border. The Catholic diocese that covers Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states told reporters Thursday that parish priests were fleeing for their lives and churches were being burned to the ground.
“Christian men were caught and beheaded, the women were forced to become Muslims and were taken as wives to the terrorists,” said the diocese statement to the media, according to Nigeria’s Daily Post. “The houses of Christians that have fled are now occupied by the Haramists. Their cars are used by the terrorists. Some Boko Haram sympathizers around the town showed the terrorists Christian homes, and Christians hiding were also identified and killed. Strict Sharia law has been promulgated, as observed by a woman who luckily escaped from the dead zone.”
And the status of Bama, a town in Borno state, was in flux after a Monday assault by Boko Haram, with both the terrorists and government claiming that they held the city. Borno state deputy governor Zanna Mustapha said in a statement, according to Reuters, that the attack “was very unfortunate, but I want to reassure our people that government is on top of the situation.”
The government is not on top of the situation and have largely given up in finding and rescuing the kidnapped girls. The more success enjoyed by the terrorists, the more recruits they attract, the more money they collect, the more supplies they can buy, and the more dangerous they become.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with vast oil and mineral riches. But its government is weak and indecisive not to mention corrupt. They have proven unable to deal with Boko Haram and that situation is not likely to improve any time soon.
A mass slaughter of Christians is in the offing unless African states can come together to deal with this threat.