Boko Haram is a Nigeria based violent Islamist organisation which came into light when they kidnapped 276 school girls from their dormitory in the town of Chibok in 2014. The Islamic State has now announced Abu Musab al-Barnawi as the new leader of Boko Haram. Here are few things to know about this organisation which has declared war against West African states.
- The emergence and the founder:
The charismatic preacher named Mohammed Yusuf is known as the founder of Boko Haram. Yusuf had founded his own mosque in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri. Yusuf had many followers who believed in his fundamentalist interpretation of the Quran. The group had advocated reviving an Islamic caliphate and imposing Sharia law. In 2009 government forces captured Yusuf and then shot him without trial. His followers later went underground but mounted a fierce return with Abubakar Shekau as the leader.
- The philosophy of the group:
Boko Haram literally means ‘wester education is sinful’. But the organisation has not limited itself fighting against western education. The organisation seeks to establish pure Islamic state ruled by sharia law and wants to abandon westernisation. Any activity or lifestyle which associated with western culture is termed as ‘haram’.
- The comeback of 2009:
When Abubakar Shekau became the leader of Boko Haram in 2009, the organisation started more systematic and brutal operations against Christians. In one of the video Shekau was seen saying, “I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill – the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams.”
- Complicated structure of the organisation:
There is no definite statistic available about how many followers Boko Haram has. The organisation has various cells and sometimes they carry attack for their own reason. Boko Haram mainly gets money from ransom kidnappings, bank robberies and other illegal activities. There have been speculations that some political organisations also sponsor them.
- Is Boko Haram getting stronger?
The new leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi has been seen warning that towns which resisted Boko Haram in its mission to create an Islamic state would be flattened. Last week in north-eastern Nigeria a UN convoy was ambushed. It is speculated that Boko Haram is stepping up and would increase its attacks. They are also active on various social media platforms and running an aggressive propaganda.