Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Boko Haram’s Nascent State in Nigeria Takes Shape, with Vast Parts of Borno, Adamawa under Islamist Control

As reported in August in this blog, Boko Haram, the extremist Islamist terrorist group in Nigeria which has been waging a lethal war against Christian (and other) civilians for years, took a page from the Islamic State (I.S.) and al-Qaeda playbook and declared a separate Islamic “caliphate” in northern Nigeria.  But now the contours of that nascent state are coming into sharper focus.  Last week, Boko Haram renamed Mubi, a city of over 100,000 people in Adamawa State, near the border with Cameroon, which the group had recently taken control of.  It is now, they say, “Madinatul Islam,” which means “City of Islam,” and presumably it is the capital of this kernel of a new Islamic nation.

The city of Mubi after Boko Haram paid it a visit about a year ago.  Now it controls it completely.
Boko Haram, according to news reports, controls four of Adamawa’s twelve local government areas (L.G.A.s)—as subdivisions of Nigerian states are called.  These L.G.A.s are all adjacent and bunched in the northern tip of Adamawa.  They are Madagali, Michika, Mubi North, and Mubi South—including, of course, the city of Mubi.  Boko Haram roadblocks and checkpoints have been set up along the borders of the quasi-statelet, and the Nigerian government and military have no presence there.  The group has announced its aim to take over all of Adamawa, a state of nearly 4 million people roughly the size of Maryland or Taiwan.

In this map, Borno State local government areas
controlled by Boko Haram are circled in red.
Already, Boko Haram was reported to control an astounding one-third of the twenty-four L.G.A.s in Borno State.  Borno is the much larger and more populous state to the north of Adamawa where Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon meet at Lake Chad.  It is here, in late August, that Boko Haram declared the city of Gwoza, which it had captured, to be the kernel of the new caliphate.  It also at that time already controlled Gulak, in the current northern-Adamawa statelet, and a string of towns spilling across southern Borno into Yobe State as well.  Borno, with over 5 million people, is about the size of Ireland.  In addition to Gwoza, then, Boko Haram now also controls the Borno L.G.A.s of Gamboru-Ngala, Kala-Balge, Marte, Dikwa, Bama, and Askira-Uba, as well as part of Konduga (see map above).  Observers expect the group to make a grab soon for Maiduguri, the Borno capital, which has over 1 million people and which is already nearly surrounded by Boko Haram territories.

One map showing Boko Haram–controlled areas in northern Nigeria, from John Campbell’s excellent blog.
Other clear and informative maps of de facto Boko Haram territories
can be found at the useful Political Geography Now blog.
One wonders if that is the point at which Nigeria will bring the full force of its military to combat the Boko Haram threat, or the point at which the international community will regard what is happening in northern Nigeria as a crisis as serious as that in Iraq and Syria with Islamic State.

Every northern Nigerian’s nightmare is to wake up in the morning and see something like this roll into town.

[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar.  (That is shorter than the previous working title.)  The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon.  Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even though you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this special announcement for more information on the book.]

1 comment:

  1. Who is know how long going war in country? Do you want that will be a peace? What steps are you advising? From news I read that how air force bombarded high level Boko Haram meeting with fighter information source https://www.naij.com/972450-see-air-force-bombarded-high-level-boko-haram-meeting-fighter-jets-video.html this is awful. What do you think about this situation? Add own opinion and simple comments.


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