International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Boko Haram: Who’s Responsible?

In Nigeria, an Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram has formed in response to the division between Muslims living in the north and Christians in the South. The group’s mission is to purify Nigeria of any western influences and execute this mission through extreme violence. Boko Haram has targeted schools most widely known as #bringbackourgirls, official buildings, and prisons, which in response has triggered the government’s military to intervene. But, the government’s actions in response to these violent attacks suggest that the government may be collaborating with the terrorist group. Looking ahead to when the people behind the atrocities are found out, it will be interesting whether the Nigerian government’s and military leadership will be charged with the war crimes, similar to a Mladic situation. Additionally, if the government is behind the atrocities, they could be considered to the degree of a genocidal movement manipulated by political elites.


2 responses to “Boko Haram: Who’s Responsible?

  1. mjacobson565 February 4, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Boko Haram’s campaign of terror has continued over the past month. On January 3rd, approximately 2,000 people were killed by the group in a terrorist attack on the town of Baga. One week later, Boko Haram carried out two separate bombing incidents in which ten-year-old girls were strapped with explosives and detonated. Boko Haram has killed between 3,000 and 14,000 people since 2009; however, the many important actors in the international community have ignored the developing situation in the country. Nigeria is an important source of natural resources and oil, and questioning the Nigerian government’s ability to protect its people may not be conducive to securing contracts with the country. The ICC prosecutor on January 20th reminded the Nigerian government of its obligation to prosecute Boko Haram leaders for their actions, and the international community should be also put pressure on the country to protect the lives of those living in Nigeria and the surrounding areas. Failure to act will allow for more atrocities to occur, like in the Rwandan genocide and the killings by the LRA.

  2. pollorey February 7, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Following the kidnappings in Fotokol, Cameroon last Wednesday, Boko Haram has recently attacked the city of Bosso, Niger, broadening the conflict to four countries. While not drastic, the Nigerian government and military, along with forces from neighboring states, have taken initiatives to combat the militant group with little success due to limited knowledge known about the rebel group. Boko Haram has been linked to other Islamist militant groups, such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, meaning many of its actions are derived from models utilized by other established worldwide organizations. The daily occurrence of attacks by Boko Haram have incapacitated the government and spread fear among its citizens, making it difficult for the government to collaborate with its people or any other organizations. Furthermore, with the hamper it has imposed on the recent political elections going on in the state it is difficult to imagine that the government is working with the militant group. Therefore, holding the Nigerian government responsible for Boko Haram would be equivalent to holding the Iraqi and Syrian governments responsible for the human rights abuses and war crimes that have resulted from ISIS activity. Until evidence directly linking the state to Boko Haram, which could emerge with the election of a new governing body, the thought of charging the Nigeria government with acts of genocide is unthinkable.

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