Boko Haram leader Abu Bakr Sheikhu
Boko Haram has shocked the world once again by kidnappings school children. In 2014, this Islamic extremist group became notorious after kidnappings more than 200 girls. Boko Haram is a brutal Islamic terrorist organization in the world that has been active in Nigeria since 2002.
Now on December 11, there were reports that more than 300 children were missing after the attack on the school in the northwestern state of Nigeria, Katsina. This time, the school targeted by Boko Haram is a boys’ boarding school.
Names of 800 children are registered in this school. Many children escaped during the attack, but many children are still missing, who are believed to have been kidnaped. The government blamed the criminal gangs for the attack on the school, but on Tuesday, the powerful Islamic extremist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for it.
Boko Haram’s dread business in Nigeria has been flourishing for more than a decade. The incidents of abduction and their attacks on the military and common people are going on unabated.
On Friday, there were reports that more than 300 children were missing after the attack on the school in the northwestern state of Nigeria, Katsina.
Military of Nigeria Ever since the conflict between the army and Boko Haram started in Nigeria, thousands of people have been killed in this fight and millions have had to leave their homes and take shelter elsewhere.
The government insists that it has weakened Boko Haram’s strength to a great extent, but many people in Nigeria are hesitant to believe this government claim. For them, Boko Haram is a very powerful organization even today.
According to Amnesty International, in the first six months of the year 2020, more than 1100 people have died at the hands of ‘bandits’ in the northern part of the country. However, it cannot be said with certainty that Boko Haram is behind all these crimes.
Chris Ewok of BBC Africa says, “The military in Nigeria says that it has destroyed Boko Haram, but despite this the attacks of this extremist organization on soldiers and civilians are continuing.”
The governor of Katsina province has said that he is in touch with the attackers but it is not yet known whether the kidnappers have demanded money or to leave their extremist colleagues in lieu of children.
How did the story of Boko Haram begin?
The rise of this Sunni jihadist group took place in northern Nigeria in the year 2002. This area of Northern Nigeria is a Muslim populated area of the country. It is the poorest region of Nigeria, which is counted among the wealthiest countries in Africa.
Many people also see the rise of Boko Haram by linking it to the disorganization between the southern and northern areas within Nigeria. It is said that the Muslim cleric Mohammad Yusuf had formed this organization with the intention of forming a government that believes Sharia law in Nigeria.
In the form of Boko Haram that promotes Islam, Muslims are not allowed to participate in any kind of political or social activities influenced by Western life values and style such as voting or a secular education. Yusuf built a mosque and a madrasa for this. But his organization’s scope of interest began to spread beyond the field of education. His political aim was the establishment of an Islamic state and that madrasa soon turned into a jihadist recruitment center.
Many people also see the emergence of Boko Haram as a link between the southern and northern areas of Nigeria.
How does Boko Haram work?
In 2009, Boko Haram carried out several attacks on police stations and government buildings in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state in northwestern Nigeria. In this attack, many supporters of Boko Haram were killed and thousands of extremists fled the city.
The security forces of Nigeria took control of the Boko Haram headquarters. Many extremist fighters were arrested and their leader Maulvi Yusuf was killed.
After this, the security forces showed the body of Maulvi Yusuf on television and said that Boko Haram has been destroyed. But the Boko Haram fighters re-organized under the leadership of their new leader Abu Bakr Sheikhu.
The attacks of this extremist organization started increasing. In the wake of the escalating violence in 2013, Nigeria announced the imposition of Emergency in Boko Haram-affected states.
The same year, Boko Haram was declared an extremist organization by the United Nations. The brutal methods of Boko Haram became more infamous under the leadership of Abu Bakr Sheikhu.
The incidents of the bombing of common people, use of children as suicide bombers, abduction from schools were part of this sequence. The recent incident in Katsina province was also similar.
In the wake of the escalating violence in the year 2013, Nigeria announced the imposition of emergency in the states of Boko Haram.
Kidnappings of school children
In 2014, the incident of kidnapping children in a school in Chibok, North East of Nigeria caused a whole nation. Boko Haram abducted 276 girls of this school.
If some of them managed to escape, 100 girls were released in return for the release of Boko Haram extremists. Till date 100 of those girls abducted could not be known.