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OPEN TO ALL: Boko Haram: ‘technically defeated’, or ongoing threat?

23 June 2017, 12:00
RUSI Whitehall
More than 30,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the beginning of Boko Haram’s insurgency against the Nigerian government in 2009-10, including many at the hands of Boko Haram and as a result of security forces' operations.

The violent Islamist movement is said to have as its aim the creation of a Caliphate in Northern Nigeria, and despite a large-scale military offensive launched against it, the violence continues. The roots of this violence are complex. Many of its foot soldiers may have little awareness of its Islamist ideology. However, its ideology not unique and it has sought connections with others. In 2015 its then leader Abubakar Shekau, however, pledged allegiance to Abubakar al-Baghdadi and Daesh. Later that year President Buhari announced the movement ‘technically defeated’, and last year the movement fragmented, with Shekau replaced as leader. The violence however continues, with regular suicide attacks, assaults on towns in Borno State, and abductions of women. Meanwhile North East Nigeria faces food shortages and a crisis of the displaced.

18 months after Buhari declared Boko Haram technically defeated, what is the risk they now pose? How significant is the split between Shekau and ISIS? What is the future for Borno State and the North East? And how is the conflict affecting the region’s women?

In discussion are:

  • Dr Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, Associate Fellow at the Africa Programme, Chatham House
  • Dr Ini Dele-Adedeji, of the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS). Ini has conducted extensive fieldwork across northern Nigeria, particularly on Boko Haram mobilization and recruitment.
  • Elizabeth Pearson, Associate Fellow, RUSI and PhD Candidate, War Studies, King’s College London.

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