CTC Perspective: A Turning Point for Boko Haram   [open pdf - 189KB]

"Boko Haram's kidnapping of more than 250 school girls in northern Nigeria in April 2014 went largely unnoticed outside of Nigeria and among the small circle of experts who track the organization. Increasing public outcry, however, brought the issue to the international community's attention, including that of U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. The domestic and international reaction to the kidnapping could transform the incident into a turning point for Boko Haram. Nonetheless, the U.S.'s immediate response to the kidnapping appears to focus on its criminal aspect--forced abduction, potential sexual abuse of minors, and human trafficking--leaving the long-term counterterrorism and counterinsurgency dimension of Boko Haram to the Nigerian government itself. The kidnapping has three fundamental domestic implications in Nigeria. First, most southern Nigerians have been relatively apathetic about Boko Haram. To be sure, they were opposed to its activities, but they viewed Boko Haram as a northern Nigerian problem. That sentiment had already begun to change with Boko Haram's deadly bombings in Abuja last month, and the girls' kidnapping has only further galvanized national animosity toward the organization."

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Combating Terrorism Center at West Point: http://www.ctc.usma.edu/sentinel/
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