Military Wiki
Islamist insurgency in Nigeria
Map of Nigeria
LocationNorthern Nigeria
Status Ongoing
Nigeria Nigeria Flag of Jihad.svg Boko Haram
Flag of Jihad.svg Ansaru
Commanders and leaders
Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan
Nigeria Ibrahim Geidam
Nigeria Ali Modu Sheriff
Nigeria Isa Yuguda
Flag of Jihad.svg Mohammed Yusuf
Flag of Jihad.svg Abubakar Shekau
Flag of Jihad.svg Mallam Sanni Umaru[1]
Flag of Jihad.svg Abu Usmatul al-Ansari
Flag of Jihad.svg Abu Jafa’ar
Nigeria Military of Nigeria
Nigeria Nigeria Police Force
Nigeria Nigerian Mobile Police
Casualties and losses

15,000+ killed[2][3][4]

Thousands of civilians displaced[5]

The Nigeria Sharia conflict began in 2001 with the formation of Boko Haram. Since 2009, the conflict has spiraled into its most violent phase, resulting in 3,600 mortal casualties within less than three years. [2][3][4]

According to a Nigerian study on demographics and religion, Muslims make up 50.5% of the population. Muslims mainly live in the North of the country; the majority of the Nigerian Muslims are Sunnis. Christians are the second-largest religious group and make up 48.2% of the population. They predominate in the centre and in the South of the country, whereas adherents of other religions make up 1.4%.[6]

As Muslims narrowly form the majority of the population, many of them demand the introduction of Sharia - the Islamic law - as the main source of legislation. Twelve Northern states have introduced sharia as a basis of the executive and judicial branches of government in the years 1999 and 2000.


In the North of the country are numerous Muslim groups, which want to introduce sharia in the whole country. In the states of the North these demands have been executed in 1999 and 2001.

In the following 9 states the Sharia has full validity:

  • Zamfara (27 January 2000)
  • Kano (21 June 2000)
  • Sokoto
  • Katsina
  • Bauchi (June, 2001)
  • Borno
  • Jigawa
  • Kebbi
  • Yobe

In the following states the sharia is valid for areas with a mainly Muslim population:

  • Kaduna
  • Niger (13 January 2000)
  • Gombe

The events of 1999, 2000 and 2001 were riots between Christians and Muslims in Jos, Nigeria about the appointment of a Muslim politician, Alhaji Muktar Mohammed, to the local coordinator federal programme to fight poverty.[7]


2004 Yelwa massacre

2008 riots

Boko Haram terror campaign

The group conducted its operations more or less peacefully during the first seven years of its existence[8] That changed in 2009 when the Nigerian government launched an investigation into the group's activities following reports that its members were arming themselves.[9] Prior to that the government reportedly repeatedly ignored warnings about the increasingly militant character of the organisation, including that of a military officer.[9]

When the government came into action, several members of the group were arrested in Bauchi, sparking deadly clashes with Nigerian security forces which led to the deaths of an estimated 700 people. During the fighting with the security forces Boko Haram "fighters reportedly "used fuel-laden motorcycles" and "bows with poison arrows" to attack a police station.[10] The group's founder and then leader Mohammed Yusuf was also killed during this time while still in police custody.[11][12][13] After Yusuf's killing, a new leader emerged whose identity was not known at the time.[14]

After the killing of M. Yusuf, the group carried out its first terrorist attack in Borno in January 2010. It resulted in the killing of four people.[15] Since then, the violence has only escalated in terms of both frequency and intensity.

In January 2012, Abubakar Shekau, a former deputy to Yusuf, appeared in a video posted on YouTube. According to Reuters, Shekau took control of the group after Yusuf's death in 2009.[16] Authorities had previously believed that Shekau died during the violence in 2009.[17]

By early 2012, the group was responsible for over 900 deaths.[18]

2010 riots

In 2010, more than 500, mostly Christian people, were killed by religious violence in Jos.[4]

2013 Government offensive

In May 2013, Nigerian governmental forces launched an offensive in the Borno region in an attempt to dislodge Boko Haram fighters after a state of emergency was called on May 14.[19] The offensive had initial success, but the Boko Haram rebels have been able to regain their strength. On August 5, 2013 Boko Haram launched dual attacks on Bama and Malam Fatori, leaving 35 dead.[20]

Political development

See also


  1. "Nigeria: Boko Haram Resurrects, Declares TotalJihad". allAfrica. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Isaacs, Dan (5 May 2004). "Analysis: Behind Nigeria's violence". BBC News. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 AFP: Curfew relaxed in Nigeria's violence-wracked city: army
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "'Hundreds dead' in Nigeria attack". BBC News. 8 March 2010. 
  5. "Attack on Nigerian town kills more than 200". CNN. 8 March 2010. 
  6. [1][dead link]
  7. Obed Minchakpu (2001-10-01). "Religious Riots in Nigeria Leave Hundreds Dead". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  8. Cook, David (2011-09-26). "The Rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria". Combating Terrorism Centre. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Nigeria accused of ignoring sect warnings before wave of killings". London: The Guardian. 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  10. Nossiter, Adam (July 27, 2009). "Scores Die as Fighters Battle Nigerian Police". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  11. "Nigerian Islamist attacks spread". BBC. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  12. "Over 100 dead in Nigerian clashes". RTÉ. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  13. Nigeria killings caught on video - Africa - Al Jazeera English
  14. Bartolotta, Christopher (September 19, 2011). "Terrorism in Nigeria: the Rise of Boko Haram". The World Policy Institute. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  15. Boko Haram strikes again in Borno, kills 4
  16. Brock, Joe (2012-01-12). "Nigeria sect leader defends killings in video". Reuters Africa. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  17. Jacinto, Leela (2012-01-13). "The Boko Haram terror chief who came back from the dead". France 24. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  18. Nossiter, Adam (2012-02-25). "In Nigeria, a Deadly Group’s Rage Has Local Roots". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  19. "'Civilians among dead in Nigeria offensive'". Al Jazeera. 31 May 2013. 
  20. Clashes between Nigerian army, Boko Haram kill 35. Reuters. Retrieved on 2013-08-14.

External links

  • Blench, R. M., Daniel, P. & Hassan, Umaru (2003): Access rights and conflict over common pool resources in three states in Nigeria. Report to Conflict Resolution Unit, World Bank (extracted section on Jos Plateau)

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).