Think tank maintains Boko Haram could be threat to West African security


A London-based think tank is concerned any “all-out” war against Boko Haram could lead to widespread violence across Nigeria and other countries in the sub-region.

“The propensity for Boko Haram’s violence to be motivated by revenge, combined with the probable latent strike capability of the group in other parts of Nigeria and the wider region could further destabilise neighbouring countries which could potentially worsen security in Nigeria,” said Adunola Abiola, founder of Think Security Africa (TSA).
“Boko Haram has failed to present a workable alternative to the current system of governance. Furthermore, they have shown a wanton disregard for the lives and property of the very people they claim to want to govern. The real issues are: how long it will take to stop the violence and how many lives and countries they will be allowed to destroy before they are stopped. For these reasons the strategy chosen to defeat them must be selected carefully,” he said.
“Boko Haram’s attacks continue to detract attention and resources away from the socio-political problems in Nigeria that have made the establishment of groups such as Boko Haram possible.
“Consequently Nigerian and international efforts to end the Boko Haram insurgency must prioritise containment and pursue concepts of operations designed to protect civilians, boost local force protection and decrease the ability of Boko Haram to manoeuvre nationally and regionally.
“Adopting a retaliatory force posture will likely replicate the outcome of the 2009 crackdown on Boko Haram, where it suffered heavy fatalities, but was still able to regroup and unleash an unprecedented and dispersed campaign of violence against Nigerians,” he said.

News agency reports from Nigeria and elsewhere indicate the current reign of Boko Haram terror is forcing up to 800 people a day to flee. The group’s armed offensive is also said to have claimed at least 3 000 lives last year.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in Geneva said “relentless” attacks on civilians, including the high profile kidnapping of scores of schoolgirls earlier this year, could put security even more at risk in wider West Africa.

Reports earlier this week said hundreds of people were killed during a Boko Haram attack in north-eastern Nigeria.

TSA was established in June 2009 and is an independent think tank and research and advisory company. It was set up in response to the fact that security in Africa is still far too persistent and far too important to be without broader input and participation, the think tank’s website states.
“TSA serves as a forum for people across multiple sections of government and society to articulate and seek solutions to contemporary security challenges in Africa. At TSA we aim to improve understanding of national and regional security-related issues in Africa by penetrating beyond the surface of African politics, security forces, economics and society in order to produce accessible resources on the issue, and provide policy guidance to those at the forefront of improving security in Africa.”