Boko Haram Expands With ISIS-Style Social Media Presence
By Kylie Bull
Managing Editor of HSToday
Special for In Homeland Security
Long focused on Nigeria, and perhaps therefore not troubling international media a great deal, Boko Haram recently extended its reach with attacks in Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
On Feb. 13 in Ngouboua, Chad, Boko Haram jihadists launched attacks against civilians, killing scores including the local traditional leader. Prior to this, at least 20 bus passengers were kidnapped at the hands of Boko Haram on Feb. 8 in Kerawa, Cameroon, and the Feb. 6-8 attacks in Diffa, Niger created a 15-day state of emergency. Chad, Cameroon and Niger have joined the offensive against Boko Haram along with Burundi and the Central African Republic, all pledging the support of their troops. Cameroon and Niger have reportedly arrested hundreds of suspected Boko Haram militants in February alone.
In January, Nigeria’s national security adviser told BBC Nigeria did not need the help of the United Nations (UN) to deal with Boko Haram, adding that Nigeria and its neighbors were “in good shape” to take on the group.
Nigeria has often downplayed the impact of Boko Haram, often commenting that death tolls reported by the UN and international media are overestimated. Its government also fails to condemn attacks or publicly state its intentions on a regular basis, but conversely was one of the first nations to condemn last month’s attacks in Paris.
Nigeria is not, however, turning a blind eye. On February 18, military action claimed to have killed over 300 Boko Haram fighters. The deaths have not as yet been independently verified.
In January, Boko Haram launched its official Twitter feed – a sign that it is learning from the likes of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) that social media is one of the most valuable tools in recruiting followers. It had previously shied away from any kind of online promotion or social media involvement.
Read the full article at HSToday.
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