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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Boko Haram Trying To provoke a Somali-like Civil war

Dozens Dead in Swarm of Boko Haram Attacks
by John Little
The Boko Haram attacks had a dual focus – the state security apparatus and Christians. The focus on security forces is pretty typical Boko Haram behavior but the widespread targeting of churches, the successsful coordination of this attack, and the scale are particullary troubling:

“The fighting centered around Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, Nigerian Red Cross official Ibrahim Bulama said. The attack started Friday with a car bomb exploding outside a three-story building used as a military office and barracks in the city, with many uniformed security agents dying in the blast, Bulama said.

Gunmen then went through the town, blowing up a First Bank PLC branch and attacking at least three police stations and some churches, leaving them in rubble, he said. Gunfire continued through the night and gunmen raided the village of Potiskum near the capital as well, witnesses said, leaving at least two people dead there.

On Saturday morning, people began hesitantly leaving their homes, seeing the destruction left behind, including military and police vehicles burned by the gunmen, with the burned corpses of the drivers who died in their seats.”

Boko Haram is obviously quite interested in fueling sectarian tensions. This strategy, they hope, will lead to increased sectarian violence and will ultimately contribute to the destablization of the state. The inevitable reprisals will also broaden their recruitment base. Even if this amplification doesn’t take place they still get to slaughter their enemies. So, win-win.

These coordinated swarms are also relatively easy to execute and can be, as we see here, quite damaging. Small and improvised arms are sufficient, little is required financially, and mixing in a number of soft targets ratchets up the terror while increasing the chance of success. Yes, some coordination is optimal but it isn’t rocket science.

You can monitor live twitter streams for Nigeria and Boko Haram at the Blogs of War Africa Monitor at

The Rest @ Blogs of War

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