Boko Haram Attacks in Cameroon, Atrocities Deserve More Attention, from Nigerian Government, West Africa, Islamic Leaders

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram attacks a military base in Cameroon, threatens more terror.


mass grave in baga

The government of Cameroon says its forces killed up to 400 Boko Haram fighters after the militant Islamist group attacked a military base in the Cameroonian border town of Kolofata. According to military sources one soldier was killed. In Nigeria Boko Haram has waged a violent campaign of terror across the Muslim-majority north, including a highly publicized, but not unique, kidnapping of more than 200 school girls early last year and the massacre of up to 2,000 people in the northern town of Baga just last week.  The Nigerian military now claims no more than 150 people were killed there.

In a video posted to YouTube last week Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to do to Cameroon what it's doing to Nigeria, addressing Paul Biya, the president of Cameroon, by name, telling him Cameroonian soldiers "can't do anything to us." Biya responded by asking for more international support in fighting against Boko Haram. International support is of little use. The U.S. sent advisors after last year's kidnapping but that program has now been terminated, by the Nigerian military. Last month, 54 soldiers were convicted of mutiny and sentenced to death for refusing to fight Boko Haram militants.

Nigeria's government is incompetent and corrupt, but the urge to demand an international response to Boko Haram's campaign of terror is a misguided one. Last year, Nigeria was able to prevent an outbreak of Ebola in its country while countries like Liberia, which received much more international support for its efforts, failed to do so. Western aid, in fact, helped create the breeding ground for Ebola.

To say that Boko Haram's assault on the Cameroonian military base was blowback for Cameroon's involvement in the attempt to contain Boko Haram is simple-minded. For the sake of the 340 million residents of West Africa, Boko Haram has to be contained and destroyed. For the sake of its fledgling democracies and regional institutions, they have to do it on their own.

That shouldn't preclude attention from being paid to the atrocities, or questioning why Boko Haram's murderous campaign hasn't received more attention. Comparing it to the attention paid to the Paris massacre will require more than a simplistic race analysis. Should there have been protests in Paris? And what would it say if there were, when there were none in Abuja? Today, Dar al-Ifta, an Islamic law institute with ties to the Egyptian state, addressed "an unjustified provocation against the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims," but they were referring to the harmless cover Charlie Hebdo is running this week, not the murderous campaign waged in Islam's name in Nigeria. It's patently ridiculous to demand someone be held accountable for the actions of their perceived co-religionists, but demanding a religion's self-proclaimed leadership to do so certainly isn't.

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  1. Ain’t gonna happen. Like just about all African militaries, Nigeria’s is corrupt, poorly armed, and staffed by incompetents in both the ranks and the officer corps. African government troops are often feared more by civilians than rebels.

    Plus they don’t have the advanced surveillance and command and control equipment that makes war against irregulars easier these days.
    That’s why Uncle Sugar and the West get dragged in.

    1. Somebody on here summed it up really well a while back – Nigeria doesn’t have a proper military, rather a regime presentation force.

      Also, their tendency to shake down foreign goverments and NGOs who are trying to help them is…counterproductive.

      1. “preservation” not “presentation”


        1. I dunno, if they are ceremonial and parade a lot, they could be “presentation” forces!

  2. What a miserable shithole of a country Nigeria is. Between a corrupt government, 419 scammers, and Boko Haram, who the hell would ever have anything to do with that place?

    1. Every oil company on the planet?

    2. They have surprisingly successful (though low-budget) movie industry.

  3. They need some American-raised kid to come over and accidentally get caught up in their struggle by making a personal enemy of the colorful psychopath that leads the group. Along the way to the final showdown, he can help the freedom fighters reclaim their country, outpost by outpost. On the downside, he’ll probably kill numerous rare and endangered animals to take advantage of the superior load-bearing capacities of their hides.

    1. And then that kid would be prosecuted by the USA as were the guys who recently tried to overthrow the government of The Gambia?

      1. Yes, but the prosecution will foolishly place a caged tiger in the back of the courthouse.

    2. I saw fucking Avatar. It sucked.

    3. Or: Tarzan vs. Boko Haram.

  4. I have but one thing to say to Africans, stuck in the middle of all the kleptocracy and genocide:

    GET OUT.

    The continent is a total loss. Take your things, find a nice place to live elsewhere and don’t look back.

  5. By the way, on the 2,000 vs. 150 figure: I called it at the time:

    PapayaSF | 1.9.15 @ 4:48PM

    I am wary of the “2,000” number. This is an early report, and they’re often wrong. I suspect the real number is much lower.

    Not that I don’t want every member of Boko Haram dead, of course.

  6. Help me out here:

    Much as I really want to believe that most Muslims are moderate, non-violent, hate the militant jihadis, etc., I keep seeing things like this:

    Today, Dar al-Ifta, an Islamic law institute with ties to the Egyptian state, addressed “an unjustified provocation against the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims,”

    namely, what sure looks like a mainstream Muslim institute backing up the violent jihadis.

    And I don’t recall seeing mainstream Muslim organizations, ideally based in the Mideast, doing the opposite. Is it just not being reported? I know the new guy bossing Egypt said the right things not long ago, but where’s his backup?

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