Intensification of Violence in Nigeria

Intensification of Violence in Nigeria

Intensification of violence and political instability in Nigeria related to Boko Haram, as well as surrounding the general elections


Nigeria’s ongoing battle with insurgent groups and continued government corruption threaten the stability and political integrity of Africa’s most populous state. Since 2011, Boko Haram—one of the largest Islamist militant groups in Africa—has increased terrorist attacks on religious and political groups, as well as on local police and military. The kidnapping of over two hundred schoolgirls in April 2014 drew international attention to the ongoing threat from Boko Haram and the government’s inability to contain it.

In recent months, the Nigerian military—with assistance from Chad, Cameroon, and Niger—has pushed Boko Haram out of a number of provinces in northeastern Nigeria, but the group continues to launch deadly suicide attacks and wield considerable influence.

Considerable challenges await newly elected President Muhammadu Buhari, the former military dictator who defeated incumbent Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria’s 2015 presidential elections. In addition to the military conflict with Boko Haram, uneven distribution of oil revenue and high levels of corruption have caused a significant drop in public confidence.

Growing links between Boko Haram and other Islamist groups to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the so-called Islamic State could also further intensify regional security concerns. Since Nigeria is the largest African oil producer, its stability is vital to regional security and U.S. economic interests.

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