The product of joined-up evils, Boko Haram blends Salafi-Jihadism with Mad Max–style criminality. Though less famous than the Islamic State, Boko Haram shows a penchant for brutality that equals anything seen in Iraq and Syria. Boko Haram — whose name is loosely translated as “Western education is forbidden” — believes, like many jihadists today, that freedom is a mortal sin against God. To emphasize this belief, Boko Haram soldiers like to lock young students in burning buildings, and then they slit the throats of those who escape.
In 2015, the group has gone into overdrive. This month, it has annihilated entire settlements, invaded Cameroon to kidnap children, and launched multiple suicide-bomb attacks. Thousands are dead, and its legion of child sex slaves (girls) and child soldiers (boys) is growing. And the world remains silent.
Nevertheless, closing our eyes won’t stop the gathering storm. For a start, Boko Haram now controls some 20,000 square kilometers of territory in northern and northeastern Nigeria, which gives it a base from which to export terror in all directions. Theologically fanatic, the group enjoys massacring Christians, and it is equally intent on continuing to acquire territory and slaves, as evidenced by its increasingly regular raids across international borders into Cameroon and Niger.