|Written by:||Meshack Masibo|
What is Boko Haram?
Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group based in Nigeria’s northeast. Mohammed Yusuf, an influential Islamist cleric from Borno State, created the group in Maiduguri in 2002. The overarching aim of the group, which began as an offshoot of the Salafi movement, a branch of Sunni Islam, is to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state with sharia criminal courts .
The movement’s followers, called Yusuffiya, consist of northern Islamic students and clerics, as well as professionals, many of whom struggle to find work. While it is difficult to track the size of Boko Haram, U.S. intelligence officials have estimated that there are between four and six thousand hard- core militants. Other analysts have said the group’s membership could be three times that. CFR Senior Fellow John Campbell writes that many of the group’s fighters, as well as its victims, are likely Kanuri Muslims, the predominant ethnic group in Borno.
Many analysts believe that Boko Haram emerged as a consequence of deep religious and ethnic cleavages that have long troubled Nigeria. The British, during their nearly half century of rule, merged various territories and peoples that had little in common other than geographic proximity. Nigeria comprises nearly 350 ethnic groups, including the Hausa and Fulani (29 percent), the Yoruba (21 percent), the Igbo (18 percent), the Ijaw (10 percent),and the Kanuri (4 percent).
At the same time, the country is roughly split between the Muslim- dominated……Subscribe to Readmore………