Coming to Grips with New Forms of an Old Problem: State Response, Internal Challenges and External Credentials
Boko Haram embodies new challenges for the state in Nigeria. Thus, whatever response that the state had tried in the past instances of Islamic fundamentalist conflict in Nigeria would not suffice in this case. The response of the government to the insurgence prior to 2014 should be viewed as part of the problem rather than the solution. One of the prominent manifestations of the incapacity of the Nigerian security agencies in dealing with Boko Haram is the recurrent unsubstantiated claims of the killing of Shekau by the military. The split in Boko Haram since 2016 has been blown out of proportion because of the involvement of the IS. However, the split should not be celebrated or interpreted as a form of weakening of Islamic fundamentalism. There is still to emerge concrete evidence of operational and structural linkage between Boko Haram and ISIS or Al-Qaeda. Boko Haram focuses solely on fundamental opposition to the Nigerian government and symbols of modernity in Nigeria.
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