It seems that the Nigeria-based Islamic terrorist army Boko Haram has some violent life left in it after all. This week, near its forest stronghold of Sambisa, Boko Haram terrorists drove through six farming villages and inflicted death and mayhem by shooting randomly into houses and markets. So far the body count has risen to 43 villagers killed and others missing, while most houses in the villages were razed to the ground with Molotov cocktails.
A Nigerian witness, Ajim Ahmed, told a Nigerian paper that “[m]ost of those that were attacked were older men and youth. While many whose homes were razed down got injured by fire or bullets, many people are still missing. … I must say Boko Haram has almost wiped out the attacked villages.”
It may be comforting for Americans to see Boko Haram as simply an isolated human rights problem, but that would be wrong. Boko Haram is now part of the ISIS terror-state. Negotiations between ISIS and Boko Haram reached critical mass in March, when the erratic and sinister Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Nigerian terrorists, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a video recording. The leader of ISIS, Omar al-Baghdadi, quickly deigned to accept Shekau’s fealty in his own video.
The Nigerian military has lately been crediting itself with some success in clearing out Boko Haram camps in the terrorists’ Sambisa forest lairs. But this week’s attacks, plus videos released by the ISIS affiliate in which it claims to have annexed villages hundreds of miles away, give intelligence analysts cause for alarm.
It would be false to say that the fight has not now been joined, though the Obama administration has expressed little to zero interest. Boko Haram is nothing if not lethal; by some estimates, over 10,000 people have been slaughtered at its hands in the last year alone.
Nigeria just had a peaceful, democratic election transition to a new president, Muhammadu Buhari. Despite being himself Muslim, President Buhari campaigned on a promise to utterly wipe out Boko Haram. This week he met with his neighboring national leaders in Abuja to cobble together a total armed force of 8,500 troops by mid-summer that might just accomplish the final rout of Shekau’s horde. Thirty million dollars, a fortune in Nigerian terms, was promised for the multinational joint task force (MNJTF) headquarters alone.
The regional threat of the ISIS affiliate was reaffirmed with the makeup of the joint military command structure. Buhari went farther, sounding like George W. Bush in saying that the war in his country was part of the “global war against terror.”
“Terrorism has no frontiers and they must, because of the great implication for regional and global peace and security, be defeated,” he added. The African nations “resolved to seek the support of strategic partners, notably (the) European Union, France, United Kingdom and United States of America in favor of the MNJTF.”
This newfound energy in the fight against Boko Haram is refreshing, but it remains to be seen whether the near total absence of Western aid and American aid in particular will prevent a victory.