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Threat Assessment: Increase and Change in Boko Haram Tactics

Allegra Berg, Faye Lax, Zachary Pitkethley, Sophie Provins, Camille Rogers; Extremism

March 7, 2021


Summary


In 2021, Nigeria faced a surge in violent attacks. The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) believes that Boko Haram is most likely the perpetrating group behind these attacks and estimates it is highly probable the group will continue increasing attacks in the region.

  • January 2: Boko Haram abducted Garba Idris, a UN staff member.

  • January 8: A female suicide bomber killed 13, followed by an ambush of militants.

  • January 25: Seven children and one adult were kidnapped from an orphanage.

  • February 17: 42 people, including 27 children, were kidnapped from a school in Niger.

  • February 20: 17 nursing mothers were abducted on their way to Garin Maigora town to attend a wedding ceremony.

  • February 24: Boko Haram killed 10 civilians and injured 47 civilians in an RPG attack on Maiduguri.

  • February 26: 317 girls were kidnapped from a Jangebe Government Girls’ Secondary School.

  • March 1: A UN base was attacked, with 25 UN workers trapped in the bunker.

  • March 1: Over 100 people, including mothers and children, were abducted in Sabuwar Tunga village.

  • March 3: Bandits broke into the Sokoto Commissioner’s Residence and abducted two relatives.


While Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility for all of the kidnappings, historically, kidnapping has been a common tactic the group has used. If the attacks are attributed to other bandits in the region, it is likely Boko Haram has teamed up with them or is controlling them. As the group has actively been forming alliances with other bandits in the region, it is likely that Boko Haram is behind the attacks, either directly, or in a proxy fashion and reaping rewards from these attacks, either economically or in terms of propaganda. With multiple kidnappings in a short time period, coupled with an RPG attack, a new tactic utilized by the group, CTG assesses with high probability that Boko Haram will continue to plague the region with violence and havoc. It is unlikely the group released its captives without an alternative motive or strategic benefit and hence, may be emboldened to continue kidnapping.

  • February 27: the group released all 42 people that were kidnapped on February 17.

  • March 2: 279 girls were released. While the Nigerian government denies any negotiations or paid ransom, it is likely the group got something in return for the girls. Furthermore, there is a discrepancy in the number of girls that were released.


It is likely the group covertly got paid for the release of the girls, got prisoners released in exchange, or kidnapped and released them solely for shock value and propaganda. CTG believes that it is unlikely the group released the kidnappees without achieving something in return.


Assessments


An increase in the activity of Boko Haram in Nigeria has resulted in an influx of violent attacks, including through the use of kidnappings and rocket strikes. CTG estimates with high probability such attacks will continue to take place and increase in frequency and severity. The nature of the new attacks represents a significant shift in attitudes of the group as a whole. Furthermore, CTG suspects that Boko Haram is responsible for the kidnappings, despite not having claimed responsibility for them. CTG has identified four key threats that have contributed toward the growth of Boko Haram in Nigeria:

  • Boko Haram is likely to continue implementing new strategies such as partnering up with other bandits and groups in the region to strengthen its presence and influence in the region.

  • The group is also likely to advance their tactics by attacking with new weapons such as RPGs.

  • Boko Haram will continue to kidnap women and children in exchange to accomplish short term goals such as funding, as well as long term goals including procreation, propaganda, and undermining the Nigerian government.

  • The group will likely continue to exploit COVID-19 vulnerabilities to recruit new members. Additionally, they may seek to create havoc in the region by disrupting the vaccine distribution process.


New Strategies


Previously, Boko Haram has prioritized two key strategies: armed assaults and kidnapping, in order to consolidate its place in northeast Nigeria. Recently, Boko Haram has implemented a new strategy of actively building alliances with criminal bands and groups in order to expand and strengthen their presence in northwest and north-central Nigeria. The group already has a strong presence in the northeast region and by joining with local criminal groups throughout northern Nigeria, Boko Haram is able to utilize local knowledge of the groups, as well as strengthen relations they have with the local population.


The Nigerian government is not in a strong position to defend communities against terrorist groups. The police force, for instance, is too small for the population with a police-to-citizen ratio of 1:540, whilst the United Nations recommends a ratio of 1:222.[1] In addition to this, the Nigerian government has a long history of corruption and highly repressive military responses to both political and social threats. For example, the Nigerian Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has been accused of numerous human rights violations including torture and extrajudicial executions. This led to a series of protests in October 2020 in which at least 56 individuals lost their lives, and those that organized the protests had their bank accounts frozen and their passports revoked to prevent them from leaving the country.[2] This illustrates that many of those alleged to have governmental protection do not feel safe or protected. Therefore, many Nigerian citizens seek protection from terrorist groups, as the government is unable to provide such security.


By creating alliances with local criminal groups, Boko Haram is able to conduct a campaign to build relations with local populations whilst simultaneously undermining the government and exposing its weaknesses. The campaign has several benefits for the group, including:

  • Applying pressure to the Nigerian government;

  • Reducing or removing security forces’ pressure in northeast Nigeria, namely the Sambisa Forest which has been a key hideout for Boko Haram for years;

  • Gaining sympathy and approval from local residents;

  • Not having to claim responsibility for actions that do not portray the group positively, namely kidnapping schoolchildren;

  • Strengthening and expanding their hold across northern Nigeria.


Building alliances will make Boko Haram an even stronger threat to the Nigerian government, with the long term potential to lead to them being perceived as a viable alternative. Violent criminal groups are effective at using intelligence gathering methods and therefore will be a great assistance to Boko Haram and understanding more about the regions they hope to move into. The group also utilizes bandit groups to illegally mine gold; a technique that the group has used to make financial gains in order to further gain a perception as a successful alternative to the government.[3] Rising organized crime has allowed Boko Haram to highlight the weaknesses of the Nigerian government in countering this, and therefore, they are able to use it for propaganda and recruitment purposes. Although Boko Haram has historically utilized organized crime tactics, it has successfully orchestrated a propaganda campaign, such as returning school children following their kidnapping, which allows them to be viewed positively. This is key to expanding their interests and leading to the population trusting the group more than they do their own government.


Boko Haram’s Sambisa Forest base in Borno state has faced constant military fire that has led to the group considering moving regions, although they decided not to as the move would be considered cowardly and therefore risked losing support from their recruits. Therefore, attracting the Nigerian military attention to another region allows for Boko Haram to demonstrate its strength whilst gaining a zone in which it can operate freely whilst being perceived as strong and victorious by local residents. This has the potential to be utilized as a recruitment tool, as they will be in a position to offer a safe place that the Nigerian government has failed to. Over 2 million individuals have been displaced by the fighting, and therefore, this has the potential to be very effective.[4]


This new strategy of building alliances with criminal groups is a part of Boko Haram’s expansionist agenda. The 2014 internal ‘Message to Fulanis’ video in which the group paid thanks to the state of Katsina in northern Nigeria and other unspecified locations highlights that the group has aimed to expand their influence throughout Nigeria.[5] The group aims to create an Islamic state that enables them to recruit and make financial gains from activities including ransom payments and illegal gold mining. The potential for a northeast stronghold and the ability to expand their influence indicates the group will very likely continue to act in this way, with the addition of utilizing new tactics and weaponry and the continuation of kidnapping.


New Tactics


Boko Haram’s most frequent tactic for obtaining weapons is to raid Nigerian military bases in rural areas where security is often lacking. Small arms and light weapons smuggling are also rampant in the western Sahel region of Africa. Smuggling routes through Libya and Niger are undetected and have created opportunities for Boko Haram to obtain RPGs and other light weapons such as anti-aircraft guns.[6] Most recently, Boko Haram has been utilizing rocket-propelled grenade launchers for both targeted and general attacks. In February 2021, in Maiduguri, 10 people were killed in an RPG explosion where multiple shells were fired over a street block.[7] These attacks have been typified as a new “trend” of weapon used for the terrorist group. Not only are several explosions occurring during these attacks, but they also reveal the arsenal Boko Haram has at its disposal. Using multiple grenades during one attack in one location indicates the group may have a large supply of explosives. With the extensive arsenal Boko Haram has been gathering, it is likely other militant groups will join forces to acquire new weapons and carry out attacks with their new arsenal. This explains how the group is actively partnering up with other bandits in the region. If other groups initially refuse to join, Boko Haram has the resources to force others into cooperating to strengthen their influence.


President Muhammad Buhari has continually attempted to reassure the people of Nigeria by stating that Boko Haram has been incapacitated and is unable to “carry out conventional attacks.”[8] However, these assurances have proven to be incorrect as Boko Haram has continued to raid military and UN bases for supplies and weaponry. Buhari’s attempts to reassure the public are a public relations tactic being employed so that the people’s support and confidence are not lost. To respond to these activities, Buhari’s government has deployed “long range patrols” on logistical routes typically used to transfer small arms and light weapons, many of which are being transported around Maiduguri.[9] Civilian Joint Task Forces (C-JTF) have also formed in Maiduguri to counter any attacks Boko Haram may be planning. However, the C-TJFs have been accused of extrajudicial killings of terrorist group members, which has led to retaliatory attacks on the city. Considering the C-JTFs do not have an expansive arsenal, they will be outgunned if they are the target of these retaliatory attacks. These clashes could lead to additional loss of civilian life and infrastructure. Despite efforts on behalf of Buhari’s government and civilians, Boko Haram’s new tactics continue to devastate communities and infrastructure in frequent attacks.


The terrorist group may appear to be taking the offensive by increasing their activity with kidnappings and raiding military bases. However, Boko Haram’s raiding of rural military bases and destruction of infrastructure has led to an increase in military presence and engagement in government activity. This is viewed positively by Boko Haram since one of their primary goals is to exhaust government and military resources by destroying infrastructure and damaging public relations. By kidnapping school children and demanding ransom, the terrorist group is able to exhaust the government's financial resources and degrade its relationship with the affected communities. With rocket-propelled grenades, affected communities demand military protection which allows Boko Haram to do maximum damage with minimal effort. Therefore, implementing rocket-propelled grenades offers the group an easy method to destroy infrastructure and ensue chaos with minimal effort or loss of participating members.


Kidnapping


Kidnappings have been a tactic that Boko Haram has used since 2012 and continues to be a rewarding technique utilized and relied upon by the group. This is a prominent tactic that Boko Haram has and continues to use as it offers the group both short term and long term benefits. Kidnappings in Nigeria have increased in 2021 and have been utilized as a primary method of attacks (Annex A).


Short Term Goals


It provides the group with multiple short term incentives, including:

  • Destabilization of the Nigerian government’s economic and education programs;

  • A primary source of funding and a means of obtaining government compensation;[10]

  • A stable flow of new members, who can be trained and deployed.


The group has increased the frequency and severity of their kidnappings over the past months, likely to take advantage of the economic turmoil in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This correlates with their wider strategy of exploiting poverty and pre-existing issues within local government, to further their cause. Boko Haram loosely translates to “Western education is forbidden” and is likely another reason propelling the group to kidnap school children. This is bolstered by the leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau’s recent message, suggesting the kidnappings aim to prevent and disrupt Western education in the region.[11]


While no central database exists in Nigeria accounting for missing people, it is estimated that Boko Haram has accrued approximately USD $18.34 million in ransom between 2011-2020 in exchange for the safe return of kidnapped children,[12] with ransom payments per kidnapped person estimated at between $20 and $200,000 USD.[13] As Annex B illustrates, the numbers of kidnappings and hence kidnapped victims since November 2020 are significant, offering the group large sums of funding if successfully ransomed and negotiated. Funding through ransom payments allows Boko Haram to purchase weapons and vehicles, bribe government officials, and deploy propaganda campaigns; a massive incentive for such attacks to continue.


The recent release of kidnapped children suggests the government may have covertly negotiated with Boko Haram. While the kidnappees are now safe, this raises a concern, as when the government complies with kidnappers’ demands, publicly or otherwise, it sets a dangerous precedent for future kidnappings and is likely to encourage the group to continue kidnapping for successful ransoms. Kidnappings will continue to have a detrimental effect on the Nigerian population. This is particularly the case with large scale kidnappings of girls as seen in Chibok (2014) and Jangebe (2021), as these kidnappings have evoked an international response in the past, placing pressure on the Nigerian government to comply with groups’ demands. These continued kidnappings targeting schoolchildren will likely discourage students from attending school in light of safety concerns, ultimately leading to lower levels of education, and more susceptibility to recruitment.

The group is very likely to continue kidnapping in large numbers, particularly targeting children and girls, as a means of obtaining funding via ransom payments. However, the Nigerian government has denied paying any ransom following the release of the 279 Jangebe girls, raising questions pertaining to the viability of this method moving forward. Furthermore, as President Buhari adopts a hard-line approach to Boko Haram operating in the Zamfara State, it is possible that the group will also turn to other means of generating funds. They may adopt and increase the use of methods they have utilized in the past, including robbery, protection rackets, and the imposition of ‘taxes’ on civilians living in areas under the group’s control. Each of these methods would continue to threaten civilian livelihood and life.


Moreover, kidnapping children and training them to become soldiers provides Boko Haram with a stable flow of new members, allowing them to increase their operating capabilities. From April 2011 to June 2017, Boko Haram deployed over 434 suicide bombers, at least 56% of who were women, and 81 of whom were specifically identified as children or teenagers.[14] Suicide bombing continues to be an effective means of attacking targets due to its physical and psychological impacts. Not only does it cause mass casualties, but widespread and frequent suicide attacks have a deep psychological impact on the Nigerian population, causing them to doubt their everyday security, and subsequently fear Boko Haram. The group largely use young girls as suicide bombers for a variety of reasons. Explosive devices can be easily concealed under the clothing of girls, particularly those wearing traditional Muslim garbs such as hijabs or niqabs. Girls are also generally seen as inherently non-threatening or innocent to security forces so they can more easily infiltrate hard targets, thereby causing greater destruction and resulting in more casualties. The use of girls as suicide bombers also provokes an international response, acting as a propaganda tool and making ransom payments more likely to be fulfilled. As this has proven to be a tried and tested effective methodology utilized by Boko Haram, it is highly likely that they will continue to use young girls as a crucial tool in their suicide bombing campaigns. The group benefits from kidnapping young boys by training them to become child soldiers and engage in combat. These boys are exploited and indoctrinated by the group, and often become the next generation of Boko Haram fighters, which ensures the groups’ continued prevalence and longevity in the region.


Long Term Goals


In addition to the short term rewards, kidnappings also offer groups such as Boko Haram long term strategic advantages, including:

  • Procreation and breeding the next generation of fighters;

  • Propaganda and shock value;

  • Long term goals to undermine the government and capitalize on local grievances.


The reproductive capacity of young girls and women offers the group an incentive to kidnap that specific demographic. Girls often face sexual violence and brutal rapes when in Boko Haram’s captivity, signalling the importance of breeding a new generation of fighters; fighters who are indoctrinated since birth and hence, more loyal to Boko Haram’s cause, and more difficult to counter.[15] The group usually resorts to coercion, as many of the girls would not voluntarily marry a fighter of their own free will. Coercion may include physical torture or psychological torture such as giving the captives a choice between marrying a fighter or deploying as a suicide bomber.[16] While kidnappings offer the group immediate incentives such as bolstering the group's numbers, it also benefits the group in the long run, as they breed, raise, and indoctrinate their next generation of Boko Haram fighters.


While 279 girls were released on March 2, the original reports highlighted that 317 girls were kidnapped. It is possible the original numbers were found to be incorrect, but it is also likely the group did not release all the captives; a tactic utilized by the group in the past. In 2014, the group kidnapped 276 girls from Chibok, some managed to escape, and some later released in negotiations with the Nigerian government.[17] More than 100 girls, however, are still missing. While Bello Muhammad Matawalle, governor of Zamfara State, claims the number is 279, the discrepancy may suggest the government is seeking plausible deniability for the remaining girls as they are still facing backlash for the missing Chibok girls. It is also possible the group released the majority of the girls to brush off any attention from the public while holding the rest captive to slowly and strategically build up the numbers to cement their position as a dominant group in the region.


Kidnappings, especially young girls or boys in such large numbers, garners mass propaganda for Boko Haram, which they exploit to separate themselves from other Islamic extremist groups in the region. The 2014 kidnapping elicited international attention and anger and subsequently placed Boko Haram on the map. In 2014, the Chibok “Bring Back Our Girls'' campaign drew widespread attention, and more recently, the Jangebe abductions amassed international media attention, with #JangebeGirls circling on Twitter. Having a global audience continues to drive Boko Haram to attack and kidnap a demographic that they know will evoke shock.


Furthermore, with more international attention on the havoc the group creates, the group also ensures that there is global recognition regarding the failure of the Nigerian government and the instability in the region. Kidnapping women and young children is a specific strategy to make the government appear weak in order to undermine its reputation and its lacking capacity to protect citizens. This is a tool for Boko Haram to attract support as they are viewed as a powerful force in the region. It also aids Boko Haram in its narrative that if a young girl or boy joins the group voluntarily, they will be offered security measures they would not otherwise have access to. The group exploits local grievances such as poverty and offers monetary incentives to join the group. Furthermore, as schools are deemed unsafe in Nigeria, Boko Haram has leverage over young students who want a safe education. Incentives such as a Quran education are appealing to young girls in Nigeria. As the group continues attacking and the instability in the region continues to increase, Boko Haram will likely and successfully strengthen its foothold in the region by utilizing tactics such as kidnapping, which offers them many strategic advantages.


COVID-19 Vaccine


The head of Nigeria's primary healthcare agency has stated that they are expecting 41 million doses of the vaccine with additional considerations occurring for the vaccines from both Russia and India.[18] As seen in the previous sections, there are clear concerns regarding potential advancements in the interests, tactics, as well as capabilities of Boko Haram. Through their increase of kidnapping and receiving ransom, they are able to fund themselves for short term interests such as purchasing more advanced weapons or potentially vehicles. This increase in finances is a cause for concern during the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region.


As noted by The Counterterrorism Group in addressing vulnerabilities to the COVID-19 distribution process in the United States, there are similar threats in Nigeria in the future such as the distribution of illegal vaccines, attacks at vaccination sites, as well as attacks during the transportation of vaccines.[19] However, the threat level for Nigeria will be different as groups like Boko Haram, who have clear interests to display their strength and cause distrust towards the Nigerian government, may attempt to disrupt government distribution of the vaccine. While attacks at physical vaccination centers are likely, there is also an increased risk of attacking the vehicles used for transporting the vaccine.


Such vehicles, which may not be as heavily guarded as those in other countries across the world, are vulnerable to attack by stopping the vehicle and being caught in a crossfire which ultimately leaves the vaccines vulnerable to be stolen by Boko Haram. By stealing these vaccines, the group is able to do one or more of the following:

  • Hold the vaccines until a ransom is paid to return them;

  • Distribute the vaccines illicitly to undermine the government;

  • Withhold the vaccines completely to cause further instability.


Further detailed analysis regarding the system in place in Nigeria for future vaccine distribution is necessary to know exactly what kind of vulnerabilities are present, however, based on the previous actions of Boko Haram, its history, and relation to the government displays that there is a MEDIUM-HIGH likelihood groups like Boko Haram, and/or groups working on conjunction with Boko Haram, will attempt to sabotage or disrupt the vaccine distribution process.


Future Implications


While Boko Haram has recently implemented new tactics such as RPG attacks, a recent FLASH Alert issued by CTG assesses that the “current threat to Nigerian civilians throughout northern Nigeria to be high with regards to the kidnapping of school children.”[20] As kidnappings continue to be a common tactic utilized by Boko Haram, it is likely the Nigerian government will respond by paying ransoms to the group. This response will continue to provide the group with accessible funds, and therefore, CTG assesses that it is highly likely Boko Haram will continue using kidnappings as a primary tactic. Furthermore, as the group continues to form alliances with other bandits in the region and participate in proxy attacks, it is highly likely there will continue to be a surge in attacks.

Heightened security measures in rural areas in response to Boko Haram’s attacks, may, in fact, benefit the group. When the UN sends resources for security and peacekeeping operations, there tends to be a risk of both weapons and aid materials being stolen. Additionally, if the Nigerian military decides to increase its presence in the affected communities they will bring an arsenal to combat the terrorist group in any form of confrontation. Bringing more weapons into these affected communities will increase the availability of weapons for Boko Haram to take, as they have continued to do when there are military resources available. When moving into these rural communities that are affected most by recent attacks, both the UN and Nigerian military must take precautions when bringing more weapons into these areas. If more weapons are brought into these areas, it must be discreet and the arsenals need to be heavily guarded to prevent confrontation and theft.


Boko Haram can also benefit from measures introduced by the Nigerian government. For example, the government introduced a curfew and market closure in Jangebe in the state of Zamfara- the town in which 317 girls were kidnapped on January 26, 2021.[21] The implementation of the curfew has the risk of allowing Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups, to roam free in the region and conduct intelligence gathering missions or attacks with little obstruction or chance of eyewitnesses. Furthermore, businesses have struggled in Nigeria in towns that have experienced curfews previously, which is extremely detrimental in a nation that already is economically struggling. In 2015, a curfew was implemented in Maiduguri which led to increased tensions due to businesses having to close early and the prevention of nightlife, as well as an increase in Boko Haram attacks.[22] Therefore, any governmental decisions ought to consider the potential repercussions on the economy and society with how effective they are at preventing Boko Haram from continuing to cause harm to the population by either kidnapping or disseminating recruitment tools.


An Executive Summary on Boko Haram’s recruitment of Children by The Counterterrorism Group highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic has increased those who require humanitarian assistance by over 50 percent, pushing the region into even greater instability and creating a prime landscape for Boko Haram to exploit.[23] Boko Haram will continue to exploit the local grievances and undermine the Nigerian government. They may do so by attacking and stealing vaccines and offering the supplies as their own. This will propel the narrative that the group can offer more security measures than their own government and may act as a tool to recruit new members.


The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) Extremism Team will actively monitor the movements of Boko Haram in Nigeria by using open-source intelligence (OSINT) and social media intelligence (SOCMINT) to detect incidents, changes in tactics and trends, as well as the effects that attacks and kidnappings will have on Nigeria’s local communities. CTG’s Extremism Team will coordinate with CTG’s AFRICOM Team to track any political developments, military movements, or extremist activity in the region.


Annex:


A)

Boko Haram Kidnappings from November 2020 - March 5, 2021[24]


B)

Number of People kidnapped by Boko Haram from November 2020 - March 5, 2021[25] [26]


Sources:


The Nigerian Police Force and Zero Accountability on 135 Billion Naira VIP Police Revenue, Dataphyte, November 2019,

https://www.dataphyte.com/development/governance-development/the-nigerian-police-force-and-zero-accountability-on-135-billion-naira-vip-police-revenue/


Demand justice for the violent repression of #EndSARS protesters, Amnesty International, October 2020, https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/nigeria-end-impunity-for-police-brutality-end-sars/


Illegal Gold Mining Funding Armed Groups in Sahel: Interpol, The Defense Post, December 2020,

https://www.thedefensepost.com/2020/12/21/illegal-mining-armed-groups-sahel/


Nigeria Emergency, UNHCR, December 2020, https://www.unhcr.org/uk/nigeria-emergency.html


Boko Haram teams up with bandits in Nigeria, Institute for Security Studies, March 2021, https://issafrica.org/iss-today/boko-haram-teams-up-with-bandits-in-nigeria


Boko Haram’s new tactics imperil Nigeria’s countryside, International Peace Institute, November 2017,

https://theglobalobservatory.org/2017/11/boko-harams-new-tactics-imperil-countryside/


Nigeria’s Boko Haram crisis: Maiduguri rocket attack kills 10, BBC News, February 2021,

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56184033


Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions, Congressional Research Service, March 2016,

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43558.pdf


Boko Haram teams up with bandits in Nigeria, Institute for Security Studies, March 2021, https://issafrica.org/iss-today/boko-haram-teams-up-with-bandits-in-nigeria


Paying for terrorism: Where does Boko Haram gets its money from?, Independent, June 2014, https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/paying-terrorism-where-does-boko-haram-gets-its-money-9503948.html&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614740660925000&usg=AOvVaw2TJIukbm-Ctcn7Vye2_4F0


Boko Haram claims kidnapping of over 300 boys in Nigeria, marking an alarming move west, The Washington Post, December 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/boko-haram-nigeria-300-boys-kidnap/2020/12/15/98a4bf32-3eaf-11eb-b58b-1623f6267960_story.html


Insecurity: Nigerians pay over N7 billion ransom to kidnappers in nine years, Premium Times, May 2020, https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/394899-insecurity-nigerians-pay-over-n7-billion-ransom-to-kidnappers-in-nine-years-report.html


Nigeria's school abductions: Why children are being targeted, BBC News, March 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56212645


Exploding Stereotypes: The Unexpected Operational And Demographic Characteristics of Boko Haram’s Suicide Bombers, Counter Terrorism Centre, August 2017, https://ctc.usma.edu/report-exploding-stereotypes-the-unexpected-operational-and-demographic-characteristics-of-boko-harams-suicide-bombers/


Women as Symbols and Swords in Boko Haram’s Terror, Inclusive Security, 2016,

https://www.inclusivesecurity.org/publication/women-as-symbols-and-swords-in-boko-harams-terror/#:~:text=Women


They Ordered Her to Be a Suicide Bomber. She Had Another Idea, The New York Times, March 2020,

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/world/africa/Nigeria-Boko-Haram-bomber.html


Nigeria’s Chibok schoolgirls: Five years on, 112 still missing, AlJazeera, April 2019,

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/4/14/nigerias-chibok-schoolgirls-five-years-on-112-still-missing


Nigeria expects 41 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from African Union, Reuters, February 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-nigeria-vaccine/nigeria-expects-41-million-covid-19-vaccine-doses-from-african-union-idUSKBN2A13FS


Security Threats to the COVID-19 Vaccine Process, CTG, January 2021, https://www.counterterrorismgroup.com/post/security-threats-to-the-covid-19-vaccine-process


Flash Alert: Kidnapping for Profit in Northern Nigeria, CTG, February 2021,

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/the-counterterrorism-group_kidnapping-for-profit-in-northern-nigeria-activity-6771816552846114816-dnA1


Curfew, market closure imposed in Nigerian town of abducted girls, AlJazeera, March 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/4/curfew-market-closure-imposed-in-nigerian-town-of-abducted-girls


Nigeria: Mixed reactions to Maiduguri curfew, DW, December 2018, https://www.dw.com/en/nigeria-mixed-reactions-to-maiduguri-curfew/a-42123674


Boko Haram Recruiting Child Soldiers, CTG, August 2020,

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6705934150962040832/

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1] The Nigerian Police Force and Zero Accountability on 135 Billion Naira VIP Police Revenue, Dataphyte, November 2019, https://www.dataphyte.com/development/governance-development/the-nigerian-police-force-and-zero-accountability-on-135-billion-naira-vip-police-revenue/

[2] Demand justice for the violent repression of #EndSARS protesters, Amnesty International, October 2020, https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/nigeria-end-impunity-for-police-brutality-end-sars/

[3] Illegal Gold Mining Funding Armed Groups in Sahel: Interpol, The Defense Post, December 2020, https://www.thedefensepost.com/2020/12/21/illegal-mining-armed-groups-sahel/

[4] Nigeria Emergency, UNHCR, December 2020, https://www.unhcr.org/uk/nigeria-emergency.html

[5] Boko Haram teams up with bandits in Nigeria, Institute for Security Studies, March 2021, https://issafrica.org/iss-today/boko-haram-teams-up-with-bandits-in-nigeria

[6] Boko Haram’s new tactics imperil Nigeria’s countryside, International Peace Institute, November 2017, https://theglobalobservatory.org/2017/11/boko-harams-new-tactics-imperil-countryside/

[7] Nigeria’s Boko Haram crisis: Maiduguri rocket attack kills 10, BBC News, February 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56184033

[8] Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions, Congressional Research Service, March 2016, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43558.pdf

[9] Boko Haram teams up with bandits in Nigeria, Institute for Security Studies, March 2021, https://issafrica.org/iss-today/boko-haram-teams-up-with-bandits-in-nigeria

[10] Paying for terrorism: Where does Boko Haram gets its money from?, Independent, June 2014, https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/paying-terrorism-where-does-boko-haram-gets-its-money-9503948.html&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1614740660925000&usg=AOvVaw2TJIukbm-Ctcn7Vye2_4F0

[11] Boko Haram claims kidnapping of over 300 boys in Nigeria, marking an alarming move west, The Washington Post, December 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/boko-haram-nigeria-300-boys-kidnap/2020/12/15/98a4bf32-3eaf-11eb-b58b-1623f6267960_story.html

[12] Insecurity: Nigerians pay over N7 billion ransom to kidnappers in nine years, Premium Times, May 2020, https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/394899-insecurity-nigerians-pay-over-n7-billion-ransom-to-kidnappers-in-nine-years-report.html

[13] Nigeria's school abductions: Why children are being targeted, BBC News, March 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56212645

[14] Exploding Stereotypes: The Unexpected Operational And Demographic Characteristics of Boko Haram’s Suicide Bombers, Counter Terrorism Centre, August 2017, https://ctc.usma.edu/report-exploding-stereotypes-the-unexpected-operational-and-demographic-characteristics-of-boko-harams-suicide-bombers/

[15] “Women as Symbols and Swords in Boko Haram’s Terror,” Inclusive Security, March 2016, https://www.inclusivesecurity.org/publication/women-as-symbols-and-swords-in-boko-harams-terror/#:~:text=Women

[16] They Ordered Her to Be a Suicide Bomber. She Had Another Idea, The New York Times, March 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/world/africa/Nigeria-Boko-Haram-bomber.html

[17] Nigeria’s Chibok schoolgirls: Five years on, 112 still missing, AlJazeera, April 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/4/14/nigerias-chibok-schoolgirls-five-years-on-112-still-missing

[18] Nigeria expects 41 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from African Union, Reuters, February 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-nigeria-vaccine/nigeria-expects-41-million-covid-19-vaccine-doses-from-african-union-idUSKBN2A13FS

[19] Security Threats to the COVID-19 Vaccine Process, CTG, January 2021, https://www.counterterrorismgroup.com/post/security-threats-to-the-covid-19-vaccine-process

[20] Flash Alert: Kidnapping for Profit in Northern Nigeria, CTG, February 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/posts/the-counterterrorism-group_kidnapping-for-profit-in-northern-nigeria-activity-6771816552846114816-dnA1

[21] Curfew, market closure imposed in Nigerian town of abducted girls, AlJazeera, March 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/4/curfew-market-closure-imposed-in-nigerian-town-of-abducted-girls

[22] Nigeria: Mixed reactions to Maiduguri curfew, DW, December 2018, https://www.dw.com/en/nigeria-mixed-reactions-to-maiduguri-curfew/a-42123674

[23] Boko Haram Recruiting Child Soldiers, CTG, August 2020, https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6705934150962040832/

[24] Boko Haram Kidnappings from November 2020 - March 2021, by Allegra, via Canva

[25] Number of People kidnapped by Boko Haram from November 2020 - March 2021, by Allegra, via Canva

[26] Please note, the data utilized in the graphs does not include incidents by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) as they are classified as a separate group. Additionally, some incidents included were not officially claimed by Boko Haram in the articles but based on clear indicators and similar motivations/tactics, they were classified as such. The data for the month of March only goes up until March 5, 2021. Finally, CTG recognizes that there are missing incidents and data. Only open-source news articles were utilized to gather information provided which means that the graphs do have some flaws.


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