NIGERIA’S north is a giant dust bowl stricken by mass poverty and
unemployment. But the worst blight of all may be the region’s Islamists,
especially a group called Boko Haram. It is carrying out almost daily
shootings and occasional bombings, trying to undermine the country’s
president and increasingly worrying international investors.
Boko Haram, meaning “Western education is sinful”, originates in
Maiduguri, capital of the north-eastern state of Borno. It rose to
prominence after sectarian violence in 2009, in which more than 800
people were killed. The group says it is fighting for the wider
application of sharia law in Nigeria and has claimed responsibility for hundreds of attacks in Borno, often aimed at police, churches and bars.
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