Follow up Discussion on Boko Haram

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First of all, thank you very much for your contributions to the discussion about Boko Haram and the Chibok Abductions. We have read your posts with great interest and followed how the media has covered the issue since we started the discussion last week.

It seems that many authors agree with the view that has been expressed by Mesfin. They emphasize that a political solution is needed to stop the Boko Haram movement. A political counterinsurgency strategy, strengthening the inclusion of marginalized groups and addressing grievances of the Northern population (as Innocent Anguyo Alia argued on here), and not military operations are described as the solution. Part of this strategy might be negotiating with Boko Haram’s leaders. Do you agree with this view or should governments not negotiate with terrorist groups, as it has often been proclaimed?

On the other hand,  authors see part of the problem within the Nigerian Military itself: Think Africa Press asks the question Was the Nigerian Military Complicit in the Chibok Abductions?”,alluding to the poor training and equipment of the military as well as the existence of military personnel who sympathize with the sect – some because of family ties to Boko Haram members, others because of bribery.

http://thinkafricapress.com/nigeria/was-nigerian-military-complicit-chibok-abductions-bring-back-our-girls

If the national security forces are too weak, some would argue that a foreign intervention is needed,  but can this really be part of the solution – or isn’t Western influence part or even the root cause of the problem?  On African Arguments, Kirk Ross describes Boko Haram’s recent operations as a “war on Western education”. If this is true, could it be that the widespread international affirmations of support are only fuelling the insurgency?

http://africanarguments.org/2014/05/19/revolt-in-the-north-interpreting-boko-harams-war-on-western-education-by-kirk-ross/

In a response to the article “Dear world, your hashtags won’t #BringBackOurGirls” by Jumoke Balagun that we posted last week, Marissa Jackson defends the international online activism on the issue. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/11/nigeria-bringbackourgirls-boko-haram

As Njathika did in his post, Jackson uses the word “slacktivism” to describe the attempts of the online community. However, she argues that the huge attention for the issue on the web helped pressuring President Goodluck Jonathan to take more decisive steps to rescue the abducted girls. Do you believe that national and international activists (or slacktivists) can really make a difference by “naming and shaming” politicians and their practices?

If you want to learn more about the rise of Boko Haram during the last few years, have a look at this analysis by the International Crisis Group:

 http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2014/africa/curbing-violence-in-nigeria-the-boko-haram-insurgency.aspx

… or this article by Gary K. Bush on Pambazuka News:

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/91745

We are looking forward to hear about your opinions on this issue. Keep the discussions going!