This article tries to give a wider understanding of Boko Haram and tries to show that the situation is more complex than it is explained on the media.
When we go back to the 11th century we learn that the Islam was introduced in northern Africa. It stretches from the outer west, Morocco, all the way to Egypt to the east and from northern Africa till the countries that were colonized by the British.
There used to be many kingdoms, sultans and other rulers fighting for their lands in the Sahel region, stretching from Mali to Chad. There were forests, agricultural land and plenty of lakes and fish providing food and trade for the people living there.
With colonization western exploitation started and the slave trade did unmeasurable damage to large groups of people all over Africa. The people in the Sahel region were resistant to the western powers and, ultimately, this is still visible today in the form of Boko Haram, which opposes all western education and ideologies.
Nowadays in present northern Nigeria, Lake Chad shrunk by 90% and desertification takes place with a speed of 770 sq/M per year, leaving 30 million people without crop land, water and food. This puts a lot of pressure on people who are living below poverty line with half of them are malnourished. Groups like Boko Haram want to live by the Quran, self-sustainable and without rule of powers related to western ideologies or religion (Christianity) as that brought misfortune and poverty.
Many radical groups came and went due to internal struggles, yet Boko Haram survived. Its hate towards the west keeps on being fueled by the repressive actions and killings of the police. They see ‘their land’ being taken and a cat and mouse game between Boko Haram and the police and/or army. Revenge actions started small and local in 2003, which escalated in 2009, resulting in a regional conflict cross border with neighboring countries in this present time.
On the recent news is stated that 8500 troops of international African forces are gathered to fight Boko Haram. The conflict is escalating and it is difficult to see what really is happening due to conflict of interest, corruption, and misinformation.
There may be solutions to be found in the future, but most importantly, the violence and repressive actions from all sides has to stop in an area where people are living in already unbearable conditions.