Gender in Boko Haram’s Ideology
Within the Boko Haram’s strategy is the victimization of women Christians by enforcing Sharia law that has an ideological structure which is rigidly gendered. Shekau and his Boko Haram group pursue a Sharia law version that promotes skewed gender roles for men and women with strict dress code and sexual conduct enforcement. Other abusive and discriminatory practices are also instated against women. Children are forcefully segregated and women publicly flogged for fornication. Some of the things banned by Boko Haram include engaging in homosexuality or lesbianism, watching blue movies and participating in beauty pageants. They argue that these things are associated with western culture that they are trying to rid the region of. Males are cast in combat roles that are hyper-masculine by Boko Haram and have an obligatory duty of violently opposing the west.
The Islamic State has committed grave atrocities but it cannot break Boko Haram’s record. Initially, IS commanded the global headline as the most dangerous terror group in the world. This was in view of the atrocities that it had meted in the Middle East, its claim of bringing down a passenger plane belonging to Russia, and the Paris terror attack. However, Boko Haram overtook IS and became deadliest terrorist group in the world in the year 2014. The terror group is based in the northern Nigeria.
School Kidnapping and Market Bombings
Book Haram is a local Hausa dialect term, which means ‘western education is forbidden’. The most notably incident that earned the outfit global attention was the kidnapping of hundreds of school girls after several raids on schools in 2014. In Nigeria, there were About 276 teenage girls who were kidnapped from a boarding school, which is located in Chibok area in Borno state in Nigeria. This sparked a lot of fury and advocacy for bringing back the girls around the world. So far, only 58 girls have returned home. The remaining 219 are still missing. Additionally, the group has also carried out merciless bombing campaigns in market places in the entire country. Abubakar Shekau, the group’s elusive leader has a bounty of $7 million on his head from the government of the United States. Police and Red Cross have reported that thenorthern city of Yola and Kano areas have borne the brunt of the atrocities committed by the terror group. During one of the attacks, an eleven year old girl was used as the bomber.
The campaign of terror carried out by Boko Haram together with the emergence of the operations of the Fulani militants in the central belt of the country has put Nigeria in the map of one of the countries experiencing the highest recorded terrorism related deaths. Fulani militants hail from an ethnic group engaged in pastoralism. They have engaged other ethnic groups from the farming communities in endless conflicts. In the year 2014, the militant group was able to kill about 1.229 people and this earned the group the fourth place among the deadliest terror groups in the world.
Boko Haram Is a Localized Militia
One main aspect of difference between Boko Haram and ISIS is that Boko Haram carries out incursions against local authorities located in Nigeria’s Northern provinces. More than 77 percent of killings carried out by Boko Haram were against private citizens in 453 separate incidences. On the other hand, 44 percent of the killings carried out by ISIS were against private citizens. This is another demonstration of Boko Haram’s ruthless side when compared to ISIS. Boko Haram has orchestrated its deadly attacks through such acts as suicide bombings and razing of towns and villages. They are also engaged in murder, rape, torture and other crimeagainst humanity on a day to day basis. As a result of the group’s incursions, three states located in the north eastern part of the country had been declared and still remain under the emergency state. These states are Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
Boko Haram versus ISIS
Boko Haram’s terrorist leader, Abubakar Shekau had pledged an allegiance to the ISIS through an audio message posted in March last year. This implies that the outfit is learning a lot from the Middle East counterpart. Shekau said, “We announce our allegiance to the caliph… and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity. We call on Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the caliph” (Amnestry International, 2013). The newly elected President of Nigerian, MuhammaduBuhari had promised to end Boko Haram’s insurgency by the end of last year. Many pundits however see impossibilities in these claims since the terror outfit is controlling the entire northern part of the country where it has been carrying out deadly attacks for now six years. In a bid to fight the Islamist outfit, President Buharihas formed a task force with Niger, Chad and Cameroon (Amnesty International, 2013).
The manner in which Boko Haram has been dominating their proceedings has forced the president to consider exploring peace proposal proceedings. The Nigerian military has had to change its stand and backtrack in some cases when comes to dealing with Boko Haram. This has exposed its weaker side of inability to remain efficient against the group, a situation that the terror group has exploited to its advantage. At one point in time, Lt. General TukurBuratai, the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff resorted to keep silence even as report emerged that more than one hundred and five government soldierswere butchered by Boko Haram militants. This is after the soldiers failed to show up from their routine visitation of the Northeastern region. Although the media in Nigeria was awash with stories of the soldiers failing to return, the staff from the army maintained that the soldiers had actually returned to their camps.
There are reports that the Nigerian Army’s 157th Battalion has suffered immeasurable losses, thanks to recent attacks orchestrated by Boko Haram. Besides, the terrorist outfit has been able to several artillery weapons including a T-72 tank that was obtained from the unit. Additionally, Boko Haram has also managed to capture a truck that is loaded with 60,000 AA ammunition, eight vehicles and three pieces of artillery. Soldiers who belong to Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in Baga, Borno State have long struggle to tackle Boko Haram, which has carried out a number of attacks on them leaving several of them dead. Compared to its Middle East counterpart, ISIS does not use such level of military tactics against its enemies. This makes Boko Haram to emerge as the more experienced enemy, who is very battle-hardened (Alfred, 2015).
On the other front though, the Nigerian military ragtag has not proved to be a significant threat to global security like ISIS has done despite its small victories. The group’s ambition is confined within Nigeria for now. They have reiterated that they are mainly focused in establishing a small caliphate in northern Nigeria. This means that its main focus it’s to further its agenda within the country. Militarily, Boko Haram lacks the capacity to think globally the way ISIS is doing. However, if the terrorist group’s progress is not properly kept in check, it will be able to acquire sufficient resources and seek newer areas to conquer. This will make it a bigger when compared to ISIS.
The Islamic State has an unusual military strategy blend that it combines with its insurgent techniques to mete out grave atrocities. It has decentralized leadership that comprises of regional commanders who operate with significant autonomy. Most of its military expeditions are being watched over by middle aged Iraqi men who have substantial knowledge and experiences from the Saddam Hussein’s insurgence. Although its top leadership is mostly comprised of ex-Iraqi army officers, most foot soldiers are men under the age of thirty and are drawn from variety of countries. Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Jordan are the nations with the highest members of their populations in ISIS. The terror outfit has several arsenals at its disposal. However, ISIS’ fighting force is modest and has been forced to make tactical withdrawals when circumstances force them to do so. Conversely, Boko Haram, ISIS’ allies based in Nigeria have relatively less advanced weapons and training of members with a narrow area of focus. However, this notwithstanding, the terrorist outfit has continued to rave havoc on the country’s population and killing the highest number of innocent civilians within a short period of time.