Boko Haram: A Religious Sect or Terrorist Organization


Terrorism is a globalized phenomenon confronting the international community. It has grown both in strength and trend and its impact felt in different parts of the world including Africa. This impact has lately been felt in northern Nigeria due to the activities of Boko Haram creating growing concern with the level of loss of lives recorded. In Nigeria, the group is usually referred to as a religious sect partly due to uncertainty as to its classification or designation or fear the group has created. When for example, President Obama referred to the group as a terrorist organization, President Jonathan countered his statement by saying its members are not terrorists. The media too refer to the group as a sect probably due to fear especially with the killing of a Television reporter and bombing of media houses. Boko Haram at inception was an Islamic group. With time, it became a sect due to its own beliefs or practices which has separated it from pure Islam. This paper believes that the group at birth in 2001 was a religious sect but has over time, graduated into a terrorist organization especially with its adoption and use of terror tactics. This paper examines the term terrorism and the various tactics employed by terrorist’s organizations worldwide. It will consequently, do a comparative analysis between Boko Haram and well known terrorist organizations in terms of motivation, ideology, existence, grievances, tactics employed to address grievances etc. for proper classification as a terrorist organization, an international one or local terrorist organization. The paper will then attempt to suggest ways by which their activities can be curtailed and eliminated.

Keywords: Boko Haram, Karijee Jihadists, Rogue Actors, Spherical Earth, Terrorism

Article Review Status: Published

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