n Africa Insight - From to : the evolutionary phases of the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria

Volume 41, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article examines the evolutionary phases of Nigeria's Boko Haram sect, with particular attention to recent suicide bombings. Four broad phases are identified and discussed, along with four factors underlying the inclusion of suicide terrorism in its violent campaign, namely the significant depletion of its fighting force due to heavy losses incurred during the July 2009 revolt; government's increased counterinsurgency measures to curtail its traditional tactics of open-armed confrontation or placement of improvised explosive devices; access to more funding; and more importantly, its bonding with foreign terror groups, leading to increased fanatic indoctrination. The article discusses the context of its radicalisation into a violent extremist movement and concludes with recommendations on how to combat the threat posed by the sect, with emphasis on countering suicide terrorism.

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