International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

How will the international community respond to Boko Haram?

In this recent article, the international community’s complacence about becoming involved with Boko Haram is pointed out. Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group, has been committing atrocities across Nigeria. Founded in 2002, they began military operations in 2009 to create an Islamic State, and they have since sworn allegiance to ISIS. The complacency, regarding Africa, might be partly explained by the recent developments in Paris. However, this is not the first instance of African atrocities taking a backseat to other international issues. Why does this happen and how can the international community work to overcome it’s bias of interest? Is that possible? The ICTJ article claims that action needs to be taken now in order to stop Boko Haram, which I agree with, however what exact type of action is unclear. Is the only way to stop Boko Haram by use of military? After all, even if research is collected pertaining to the atrocities it is unlikely that high ranking responsible officials would be able to be tried until after the conflict has ended. Even if it were possible to extradite the responsible individuals while the conflict was going on, would their removal stop violence completely? By it’s nature, it appears that the ICC works as a response. So, in a previous post Professor Tiemessen mentioned that UN Peacekeepers have been given a greater ability to use force when protecting civilians. Would a situation like this benefit from an external international force intervening? Should there be an internationally recognized group authorized to use force in order to stop atrocities?

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2 responses to “How will the international community respond to Boko Haram?

  1. leckstei24 February 8, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    In a more specific look at the fight against Boko Haram, I believe that the international community should engage more aggressively in aiding Nigeria against this terrorist group. Currently, the violence by Boko Haram has begun impeding upon democracy and opportunities for justice in Nigeria. In the past couple of days, the Nigerian government has announced the upcoming elections in Northern Nigeria are being moved to March 28, almost 6 weeks later than originally scheduled due to the extreme violence and volatile environment. The chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission stated, “If the security of personnel, voters, election observers and election materials cannot be guaranteed, the lives of young men and women and the prospect of the free, fair, and credible elections will be greatly jeopardized” (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/nigeria-postpones-presidential-election-150207221819213.html). In response to the postponement of elections, a number of groups, including civil rights and independent government watchdogs, have come forward to protest the postponement. These organizations believe that the 6 weeks of postponement will not allow nearly enough time to combat the actions of Boko Haram, especially since the government has failed in the past 5 years. The USA’s own Secretary of State, John Kerry, expressed concerns that the Nigerian government was using “security concerns as a pretext for impeding the democratic process.” Despite these concerns, however, there is still little initiative shown from the international community to aid Nigeria in combating Boko Haram. When will countries step forward? Are threats against civil rights and democracy not enough of an incentive for action?

  2. Connor Quinn February 11, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I agree with Leckstei24, that the delay of this election could be detrimental to combatting Boko Haram in the future. Dr Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, an associate fellow at Chatham House’s Africa program, believes that the current Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, has little control over military leaders who in turn have little control over their soldiers. During his time in office, Jonathan has ben unsuccessful in his ability to combat Boko Haram, as they continue to reign terror across northeastern Nigeria, while also gaining support from ISIS. To make matters worse, Boko Haram is most prevalent in northern Nigeria, where the muslim population in the north is most affected compared to the heavily christian south. Due to the fact that Jonathan disconnected with the army and its military engagements, only weakens Nigeria’s ability to engage Boko Haram in an effective way. The fact that he is Christian and inactive on northern issues only undermines his political ability even more. On the other hand General Muhammadu Buhari, who is running against Jonathan, is far more involved in the military and thus could better combat Boko Haram with foreign help. The fact that the upcoming election was postponed not only disrupts the democratic system but it will allow Boko Haram the ability to gain more control of the North as Jonathan continues to be disconnected with the issue at hand. This is further evident by the fact that the government has failed to make progress regarding the 300 school girls who were kidnapped last August. With such inaction by the government, it is clear that they do not have the desire or ability to help its northern citizens, which will only fuel religious friction between the north and south. In such situations democracy can not be violated as it on undermines the government as a whole, especially in times of turmoil.

    Sources:
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/22/nigeria-prospects-defeating-boko-haram-look-bleak
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/09/nigeria-military-warning-boko-haram-attack-amnesty-international

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