Since our last briefing in August, Boko Haram has made major territorial gains in Nigeria’s north-east region, seizing a string of towns in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. In our special report, North-east Nigeria on the brink, we warned that Maiduguri – the capital of Borno – was in danger of being attacked.
Since then, Boko Haram has advanced to within 35km of Maiduguri and is now launching attacks on the nearby town of Konduga. Though the pace of the insurgency’s gains has slowed in the last two weeks, the threat to Maiduguri remains.
As well as featuring our special report, this briefing includes a piece from Ryan Cummings analysing the connection between events in Iraq and Nigeria, an article from Alkasim Abdulkadir questioning controversial claims made by Stephen Davis about Boko Haram’s political supporters, new analysis from Zacharias Pieri on Boko Haram’s plans for a caliphate in northern Nigeria, and an interview from the Testimonial Archive Project providing a rare insight into what’s going on in the towns captured by Boko Haram.
North-east Nigeria on the brink
In a joint report from the members of the Nigeria Security Network, we warn of the danger posed to Maiduguri and the rest of north-east Nigeria following Boko Haram’s rapid territorial gains. We warn that the military must act quickly to send reinforcements, ammunition, and equipment to the north-east to counter Boko Haram’s changing tactics.
Ryan Cummings answers some commonly asked questions about the connections between the Islamic State in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria. He concludes Boko Haram’s aspirations for a caliphate predate the Islamic State and that it is unlikely the two groups will develop a formal alliance due to Boko Haram’s relationship with al-Qaeda.
Boko Haram, Stephen Davis and the strange tales from Perth
Alkasim Abdulkadir questions the credibility of Stephen Davis and his claims about Boko Haram’s political connections. He argues Davis cannot have gone to north-east Nigeria and would not have been seen by Boko Haram as a legitimate intermediary.
Boko Haram’s Islamic Caliphate is becoming a reality in Northeastern Nigeria
In this analysis piece, Zacharias Pieri provides some historical context for Boko Haram’s stated aim of establishing a caliphate, explaining that the insurgents are inspired by Dan Fodio’s Sokoto Caliphate. He also shows how the group is developing the infrastructure for a caliphate in the north-east.
‘How can you depend on the military to protect you?’
In this interview from Saratu Abiola’s Testimonial Archive Project, a resident of Maiduguri relays information from towns captured by Boko Haram. He reveals that only women and the old remain in captured areas, Boko Haram are doing nothing to provide services, and people are struggling to feed themselves. He adds that he supports the military but does not trust them, though he points out the CJTF have done much to improve relations between the people and the army.
Key points from this briefing
- Boko Haram has not yet attacked Maiduguri but they remain in control of large parts of Borno State.
- The military must continue to reinforce Borno and provide enough ammunition and functional equipment to counter-attack.
- Boko Haram’s tactics have changed in the north-east. They have gone from carrying out hit-and-run attacks to seizing and holding territory.
- Boko Haram is not going to join up with the Islamic State in Iraq, though they have undoubtedly been spurred on by its successes.
- The insurgency’s aim of establishing a caliphate has historical roots.
- Stephen Davis’s claims about Boko Haram’s political connections are highly dubious.
- There is no evidence of Boko Haram attempting to govern in any meaningful way in the areas it has captured.
- The military are not trusted by the local population in the north-east, though the CJTF have improved relations a little.