This month’s briefing comes on the day of Nigeria’s presidential election, which is now taking place after the government and its regional partners successfully cleared Boko Haram out of much of its territory in the north-east.
The government should be congratulated for its rapid territorial gains against Boko Haram over the last few weeks. However, in our new special report, The end of Boko Haram?, we warn the insurgents are likely to melt back into the countryside and continue the guerrilla warfare that characterised Boko Haram’s fighting up until mid-2014. Nigeria’s next government must not assume the war is over. The report also warns that the use of foreign military advisers in the conflict should be restricted to non-combat roles.
This month’s briefing includes our special report, as well as analysis from Jacob Zenn focusing on Boko Haram’s emergence as part of a transnational jihadist movement, the launch of a new Boko Haram tracker from Zacharias Pieri and his colleagues at the University of South Florida, and an interview from the Testimonial Archive Project with a member of Baga’s Civilian JTF, among other contributions.
Special Report: The end of Boko Haram?
In our special report, we warn that the government’s recent territorial gains against Boko Haram do not signal the end of the insurgency. We argue that Boko Haram is likely to continue waging a guerrilla war now that it has been chased from the battlefield. We also warn against foreign military advisers becoming directly involved in combat.
Foreign mercenaries will worsen the Boko Haram insurgency
Andrew Noakes speculates about the impact foreign mercenaries could have on the Boko Haram insurgency, following unconfirmed reports foreign military advisors have become involved in the combat in north-east Nigeria. He argues that the short-term military gains could soon be eclipsed by dire political consequences.
A biography of Boko Haram and the bay`a to al-Baghdadi
Jacob Zenn charts Boko Haram’s emergence as part of a wider transnational jihadist movement. He warns it may evolve into a revamped Islamic State version of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) that is capable of competing for a recruiting pool in an area of operations spanning from Nigeria to Libya.
Global Initiative Analysis: Nigeria and Boko Haram tracker issue 1
Zacharias Pieri is part of the team at the University of South Florida behind the Global Initiative Analysis: Nigeria and Boko Haram tracker. This issue examines whether we have reached a turning point in the counter-insurgency campaign, looks at Boko Haram’s key narratives, and makes recommendations on governance and security, among other topics.
Boko Haram, Ballot Cards and Bunkering: Security challenges facing the Nigerian elections
In this blog, Ryan Cummings analyses the security challenges facing the Nigerian elections, including political unrest following the results and Boko Haram attacks.
It got to a point that soldiers offered us their guns
Saratu Abiola’s Testimonial Archive Project records an interview with a member of Baga’s Civilian JTF. He recalls Boko Haram’s notorious attack on Baga, saying that soldiers fled as CJTF volunteers stayed to fight.
Nigeria re-takes territory from Boko Haram
John Campbell tracks the re-capturing of Boko Haram territory by the government and its partners and comments on the possible reasons behind the rapid reversal in fortunes. He argues six weeks is too short a time for the Nigerian army to have transformed itself into a force capable of defeating Boko Haram
Key points from this briefing
- The government should be praised for turning the tide against Boko Haram, though the insurgency is unlikely to be defeated
- The use of foreign military advisers in combat roles may backfire on the government if they are indeed being used in this way
- Nigerian army soldiers fled from Boko Haram as Baga was attacked
- Boko Haram could be emerging as an Islamic State version of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa
- There are multiple security challenges surrounding the upcoming elections, particularly from political unrest and Boko Haram
- Boko Haram is likely to exploit grievances following the presidential election
- Attacks against Western interests in Nigeria are growing more likely