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To Battle Nigeria's Boko Haram, Put Down Your Guns

How to Undermine the Growing Islamist Threat

Author: John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies
September 9, 2011
Foreign Affairs

On August 26, a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden Honda into the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, killing 23 people and injuring 81 more. Boko Haram, a shadowy radical Islamic movement that has been waging daily attacks in the north of the country, claimed responsibility. Some have argued that the sophisticated tactics are evidence of Boko Haram establishing links with international terrorist networks, most likely al Qaeda in the Maghreb or al Shabab in Somalia. Even before this attack, the United States, Britain, and Israel had publicly supported providing counterterrorism assistance to the Nigerian government. Now, momentum for such a solution is growing.

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