As ISIS is losing ground on all fronts, a mere two thousand miles away, a more unstable Al-Qaeda ally is gaining incredible influence. Nigeria has the highest population as well as the largest economy out of any other country in Africa. Their federal government operates in a nearly identical system to America. Although these statistics seems to solidify the legitimacy of the nation, it is far from the truth. Nigeria has unique and complex demographics compared to its neighbors. The general population is almost split in half between Muslims, to the north, and Christians in the south respectively. Nigeria has three sets of laws: common law enforced in the south (24 regions), Islamic sharia law to the north (12), and tribal law sprinkled throughout the land. Despite the booming economy almost eighty percent of the population lives on less than one dollar a day. All of the oil rich fields that bring the profit are in the most southern tip under control of some Christians, the ruling party, and the international community. The north has been left to provide for itself having overwhelming poverty, crime, and illiteracy rates.
At the start of 2012 an insurgency group, Boko Haram (translation being “Western Education is Forbidden”), carried out violent raids in a few villages to the northeast. Armed with a surplus of cold war era weaponry, fighting locals with barely enough resources to support their infrastructure. Within in months the process of militarization began with the kidnappings of children at every raid for the boys to be soldiers and the girls to be married or sold. 2013 they killed double the casualties then the previous year also claiming to establish a Islamic Caliphate without the authority of religious officials very similar to ISIS. Again tripling deaths the following year, ending 2014 at ten-thousand, claiming increasingly more territory, declaring war on Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and Benin. The group was founded in 2002 to provide support to the impoverished civilians with combating international intervention and domestic government corruption. Leadership has always retained a final goal of jihad and establishing a caliphate, objectives carried out by a new generation of militants. Since 2009 they have been responsible for a prison break releasing seven hundred inmates (including over a hundred of their members), corruption on the federal level, infiltrating police and military, extortion, operation of an extensive black market, as well as numerous political/religious assassinations.
So far as this year, Boko Haram rules over three major states of Nigeria, claiming an estimated two-thousand deaths already within this month and a half. State of Emergencies have been declared in parts of three countries where is heavy militant presence or interest. Some African nations have formed a joint military coalition to prevent further expansion of the group with little results. As of this week Nigerian President is making multiple public appeals for American military intervention, matching appeals from Iraq, Yemen, and eastern Ukraine. I don’t have enough earthly experience to confirm but there certainly a lot of violent rebellions and disputes that are all linked to each other, as if we are inching more towards the next great world war or an actual military cold war every year. It will be very interesting to see how so many hostile situations will play out as well as the involvement of our nation and possibly our soldiers.
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Yahoo.com. 2/15/2015. Nigerian president seeks more US help to fight Boko Haram. http://news.yahoo.com/nigerian-president-seeks-more-us-help-fight-boko-140106625.html;_ylt=A0SO8zX3JeFU6BkA1hdXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTByZDNzZTI1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–
BBC News. 2/08/2015. Nigeria elections: Mapping a nation divided. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31101351
NBC News. 2/14/2015. Boko Haram: 200,000 Christians at Risk of Massacre in Nigeria. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-nigeria-schoolgirls/boko-haram-200-000-christians-risk-massacre-nigeria-n306211
Wikipedia. last modified: 2/15/2015. Boko Haram. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boko_Haram