The march of genocidal Islamist armies are not limited to the deserts of northern Syria and Iraq. In western Africa, Boko Haram has also declared a caliphate after seizing enough land to impose its will on nearly 3 million Nigerians. The expansion of Boko Haram’s turf has created a refugee crisis, as well as another international locus of genocide, although this one is getting much less attention:
The leader of the Nigerian terror group Boko Haram has established the world’s second Islamic “caliphate” this summer and is seeking to cement his bloody rule on a territory that is now roughly the size of West Virginia.
While much of the world has been focused on the brutal reign of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the forces of Boko Haram have been racking up victories in northern Nigeria and violently imposing an equally harsh version of Islamic law on approximately 3 million civilians – including beheadings, forced marriages and the forced induction of children into its military forces. …
Tens of thousands of refugees have likewise streamed across the border with Cameroon, in some cases pursued by Boko Haram fighters. Islamist fighters also kidnapped the Cameroon’s deputy prime minister’s wife, who remains missing.
“Boko Haram is hacking at the roots of local governance in northeast Nigeria in an attempt to plant their brutal interpretation of Islamic law,” one U.S. official told NBC News on Friday. “In the process they are devastating local communities and exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation present in Borno State.”
Like the terrorist army of ISIS, Boko Haram seeks to destroy Christian communities as well as any animist and heterodox Muslim communities. It has its own rigid theology which it imposes by brute force. In one particularly chilling claim, the new “emir” Abubakar Shekau bragged about killing 1,000 “infidels” in the city of Gwoza in a single day. Just as with ISIS, Boko Haram operates in a mode where genocide is not just acceptable, but admirable and worthy of praise.
Who are Boko Haram? NBC’s 30-second rundown notes its connections to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb:
Those links appeared to be corroborated when two Touareg fighters were among those killed in a clash between Boko Haram and Cameroon troops in the past week:
First comes the killing, then the preaching — and the slavery and forced conversions:
Islamist Boko Haram militants have reportedly carried automatic rifles and machetes roar into the towns in columns of pickup trucks and motorbikes. They then fire at all adult men they see, often finishing them off with knives.
After they hoist their black flag inscribed with Koranic verses over government offices or the local emir’s palace, they tell the surviving women they will marry them and “live in peace.”
Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau declared Gwoza, a town near the Cameroon border an Islamic-ruled enclave last month. He made the proclamation in a video showing his fighters running amok, firing in all directions and killing captives. …
“They said ‘Shekau sent us. You are condemned to death be you Christian or Muslim,'” she says. She was able to flee to the neighboring state of Gombe with her sisters after escaping from Gwoza in Borno state.
“Within a short time, the whole park was filled with bodies just lying everywhere. I was screaming and so were my schoolmates and the rest of the women around,” she says.
Their move to the northeast is not just a mindless function of growth, either. Like ISIS, Boko Haram wants to seize oil assets to gain a solid source of revenue, as Charles Faddis of Newsmax pointed out last week:
Nigeria is one of the world’s largest oil producers. The vast wealth that oil produces now flows largely into the pockets of corrupt Nigerian politicians and businessmen. When and if Boko Haram takes control of Nigeria, it will become overnight fabulously wealthy and correspondingly dangerous.
We will be faced not simply with a terrorist state but with one that has the resources to create full fledged armed forces, equip itself with the latest weaponry and support prolonged warfare outside its borders.
Perhaps most importantly, Nigeria sits on the edge of the giant tinderbox that is sub-Saharan Africa. This is the world’s poorest region, one that is being buffeted by the crippling forces of overpopulation, drought and climate change. This is a region that is already home to numerous other extremist groups besides Boko Haram.
The emergence of a wealthy, independent Islamic terrorist state in Nigeria would have the same impact as tossing a lit match into a pool of jet fuel. Another entire region of the world would explode in civil war and genocide.
Or already has. This isn’t just a criminal gang running amok, but another terrorist army bent on genocide and ethno-religious cleansing with links to international jihadi terror networks. Boko Haram and ISIS might be separate operations at the moment, but they’re part of the same movement, and won’t be separate for long if left to succeed.