Islamist terror group Boko Haram now controls about twenty percent of Nigeria, The New York Times reported this week. The land grab amounts to over 70,000 square miles of territory, which is between about two and six times the square miles of land reportedly held by the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.
The jihadi outfit has yet to be reined in by Nigerian forces, and it has not yet met an opponent capable of slowing its conquest. The group has continuously expanded its self-declared caliphate relatively unchecked. Much of Boko Haram’s success has been attributed to its ability to infiltrate the country’s institutions, largely through securing ideological allies in the country’s Muslim-majority north and taking advantage of the government’s widespread corruption. While the world’s attention has been focused on the Middle East, Boko Haram has been busy kidnapping hundreds of women and children, while also killing thousands of civilians in its jihad. A U.S. Africa Command official told the Times, “Ounce for ounce, Boko Haram is equal to if not better than the Nigerian military.”
On New Year’s Eve, Boko Haram struck the town of Chibok, killing at least fifteen people. The area has continuously come under fire since the Islamist militants scooped up nearly 300 schoolgirls from their Chibok school in April. Even though an international campaign arose for their release, with advocates from the White House to Hollywood, not a single kidnapped girl has been freed. Their whereabouts remain a complete mystery. Some believe they were sold into slavery and/or were forcibly married to Boko Haram militants.
Just two weeks ago, Boko Haram raided another village near the Chibok school in northeast Nigeria, kidnapping nearly 200 and killing another thirty-two. This time, there was no Michelle Obama-led hashtag campaign or celebrity infomercials.
The attacks have continued throughout the week. On Wednesday, Boko Haram took responsibility for a bus bombing that killed 11. On New Year’s Day, a jihadi suicide bomber injured about a dozen when he attacked a church in the country’s northeast.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed Thursday to “bring justice to the savage terrorists known as Boko Haram.” He then swore that “they will be defeated.” However, the President’s words remain without merit, as Boko Haram has revealed itself as an enemy that shows no signs of slowing down.