The Media and Counterinsurgency Operations: Investigating the Impact of Media Surveillance on Boko Haram Terrorist Attacks, 2009-2014

  Boko Haram is ranked the world most deadliest terrorist group, killing more people than the dreaded Islamic State (Vincent, 2016). The group has killed over 30,000 civilians since 2009 and displaced over 2,152,000 people in Nigeria, Chad and neighbouring Cameroon (IDMC, 2016). Boko Haram pride itself as Jama’a Ahl as-Sunna Li-da’wa wa-al Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad), and fights to enforce strict Sharia on Nigerians (START, 2014). This thesis analyses government response to Boko Haram terrorist attacks within the framework of counterinsurgency operation. Nigeria’s political landscape is complex. It is divided into six geo-political zones which comprises of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states. The northeast zone is home to Boko Haram terrorist group.  Yoruba and Igbos dominate the south most of whom are Christians while the north is predominantly Muslim. Since 1960 when Nigeria gained independence from Britain, the north has remained poor and impoverished. Also, the corrupt nature of the government officials and politicians paved way for the rise of condemnations and the spread of emergence of extremist ideas. By 2002, Abubakar Shekau emerged as the de facto leader of Boko Haram group. Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram carried out massive attacks mainly on churches but later spread it to barracks, police stations, motor parks, mosques, markets, schools, and banks killing people irrespective of ethnicity and religious affiliation (CrisisGroup 2014, p. 2). From 2009 onward, the group became more violent in its spate of attacks. It carried out insurgency operations aimed at replacing the structure of government with Islamic principles. In essence, Boko Haram fought to take over the Federal Government of Nigeria (Campbell, 2013). This, they tried by taking over 20 local government areas in the northeast (Yusufu and Joel, 2015). This attempt has forced Nigeria to defend her territory with series of counterinsurgency operations. Counterinsurgency operations has been well researched in the military circle. Counterinsurgency (COIN) is primarily a political struggle and incorporates a wide range of activities by the host nation (HN) government of which security is only one,albeit an important one. The HN government in coordination with the chief of mission (COM) should lead the COIN efforts. When the operational environment (OE) is not conducive to a civilian agency lead for the COIN effort within a specific area, the joint force commander (JFC) must be cognizant of and able to lead the unified action

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