Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Boko Haram Attacks

ISIS gets a lot more press coverage than Boko Haram does, but Boko Haram was on the attack yesterday and today.

Remember how yesterday Buhari's new appointments for Nigeria's top military posts was in the news? Suspected Boko Haram fighters burned down the family home of the new Chief of Army Staff (who was not at home at the time), along with other houses in the village.

Over 100,000 Nigerians have fled from their homes in the north-east part of the country to Niger due to Boko Haram attacks since mid-2013. The presence of an estimated 150,000 refugees, who were forced to leave without their belongings and livestock in Diffa, in Niger, combined with the security challenges of the Boko Haram attacks has been a burden on the economy. Many refugees have also fled to Cameroon, including 100 per day to the Minawao refugee camp, and over 12,000 to the Far North Region of Cameroon. Boko Haram is also launching attacks in Cameroon, including a twin suicide attack in the border town of Fotokol last week, and another two suicide bomb attacks in the capital of Far North Region, Maroua, today.

The fight against Boko Haram may be heading in the right direction now, however. The governor of Diffa, in Niger, says that Niger's security forces felt cooperation had improved with Nigeria since Buhari won the presidency in Nigeria in March. The governor believes that the suicide missions are acts of desperation. Yesterday, Buhari announced that the World Bank had pledged to spend $2.1 billion rebuilding the northeast part of the country that had been devastated by Boko Haram attacks, and the WHO would spend $300 million to combat malaria and the Bill and Melinda Gates would contribute toward anti-polio work.  Research by Paul Collier indicates that spending on health and education can provide an immediate boost to the economy of a newly peaceful nation. Hopefully Buhari will be successful in his fight against Boko Haram so Nigerians can reap the full benefit of these rebuilding efforts.

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