Why Boko Haram’s Expansion Should Worry West African Governments

Why Boko Haram’s Expansion Should Worry West African Governments
A group of schoolboys following their release after they were kidnapped, Katsina, Nigeria, Dec. 18, 2020 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Nigeria’s ongoing battle with the violent extremist group Boko Haram took a worrying turn last month, when more than 300 young schoolboys were abducted from their boarding school in Katsina state, in northwestern Nigeria. Thankfully, the students were freed and reunited with their families a week later. But the attack carried chilling echoes of another mass abduction from 2014, when 276 female students were kidnapped from their school in the northeastern town of Chibok. More than 100 of those girls are still missing.

While Boko Haram has taken credit for last month’s raid, experts and Nigerian officials say the true culprits were local “bandits” that have formed alliances with Boko Haram, which appears to be partnering with criminal gangs to expand its reach beyond its traditional base in the country’s northeast. This week on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman discusses the resurgence of Boko Haram with Bulama Bukarti, an analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and a nonresident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @bulamabukarti. Click here to read a transcript of an excerpt from the interview.


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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Another Mass Abduction in Nigeria Raises Fears of a Resurgent Boko Haram
‘Year of the Debacle’: How Nigeria Lost Its Way in the War Against Boko Haram
In Partnering With Nigeria’s Abusive Military, the U.S. Is Giving Boko Haram a Lifeline
How Counterinsurgency Campaigns Are Fueling Human Rights Abuses in the Sahel

Trend Lines is edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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