Monday, July 27, 2009

Nigeria's 'Boko Haram' insurgency

As if the Federal Republic of Nigeria didn't have enough problems with the political and opportunist violence against government-controlled oil projects down in the Niger River Delta region...

Three attacks (so far) in northern Nigeria have come from the so-called Boko Haram followers of Islamist preacher Mohammed Yusuf. Reports on this round of fighting of 150 people killed in the battles; fortunately, mostly militants. Attacks in Bauchi happened on Sunday; This round of attacks came in Borno State, Yobe State, and near the city of Kano. Here's an easier map to use than the small one in the BBC report, above. The 12 states in the north and northeast of Nigeria are heavily Islamized, and Shari'a (Shariah; Islamic Law) is in force the autonomous religious court system of the region.

So what is with the name "Boko Haram"? Well, that's a borrow-phrase from Arabic. It means "Education is prohibited".

That's right. The followers of Mohammed Yusuf see any education besides their religious education to be against the teachings of Islam.
...the group is seen locally as a fringe group and has aroused suspicion for its recruitment of young men, and its belief that Western education, Western culture and science are sinful.

They have dreams of Waziristan-in-the-Sahel, it seems.

Or maybe they hope to bring back the Fulani Empire but if so, they are misreading history*. The Fulani at Sokoto (for example) were a most literate people who valued education.

*They aren't misreading anything. They likely don't care. This is really about imposing Islam as a system of governance.

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