The majority of people think that terrorists are just extremists with long beards hiding in the caves. This is how mass media describes them. However, most terrorist organizations think three moves ahead. They are dangerous, resourceful and formidable opponents. Human life has no value for them. Most terrorist organizations practice extensive planning and have geopolitical ambitions. They know how to manipulate people and how to provoke states.
There are more than one hundred definitions of “terrorism”, because different countries and legal systems understand this notion in their own way. However, all these definitions have some common points that allow to create a universal interpretation by bringing them together. Thus, terrorism can be defined as an act that causes death or serious injuries to civilians with a purpose of forcing a government to fulfill some requirements. Religiously-identified terroristic groups, for example, Al-Quaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram, have become important elements of global affairs in the 21st century. According to Treverton, Gregg, Gibran, & Yost (2005), religiously motivated violence has become a pervasive element of modern conflicts.
Nigeria is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, but since 2002, it has been suffering from a group called Boko Haram. Nigeria is almost equally divided into two parts. The southern part is Christian and the northern part has the majority of Muslim population. The North is much poorer than the South, which has become a breeding ground for the development of radical Islam. The terrorism has developed under heavy political conditions of Nigeria. Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful,” was founded in 2002 by an Islamist cleric named Mohammed Yusuf (Mauro, 2013). In fact, for Boko Haram, not only Western education, but the whole Western civilization, is sinful, as they are extremely resistant to the Western influence and modernization. Now Boko Haram’s leader is Abubakar Shekau who has replaced Yusuf in 2009. Boko Haram controls the Northern partof Nigeria, which is about 30 square kilometers, and have established there so-called Islamic State. One of the Boko Haram’s key income sources kidnapping. Its annual revenue is about $52 000 000. This revenue is supplemented by bank robberies and collaborations with drug cartels. Boko Haram has been fighting for Islamic rule since 2002, its members have killed hundreds of people.
Boko Haram’s violence campaign began in 2009 when Abubakar Shekau became its leader. In September 2010, 700 members of Boko Haram were released from a prison in Bauchi, Nigeria. In 2010, on Christmas Eve, terrorists bombed Christian churches in Maidiguri. As a result, 32 innocent unarmed civilians died. In 2011, a suicide bombing took place at the police headquarters in Abuja. After that, a suicide bombing took place at the UN House in Abuja, where 24 people died and 120 were injured. In December this year, many innocent Christian people died in a bomb attack in St. Theresa’s Church near Abuja.
During 2012, Boko Haram members attacked their targets more than 100 times, including shooting and bombings that killed more than 500 people. In 2013, terrorists kidnapped a French family. They released French tourists two months later and received $3 000 000 for them. In September, the members of Boko Haram murdered 88 people, among which 44 were Muslims and 44 – teachers and students of a college in Gujba.
In 2014, the group kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the Chibok school dormitory. The leader of the terrorist group said that these girls would be sold to slavery. The terrorists could release girls if the Nigerian government would release Boko Haram members that were in prisons (Zenn, 2014). This event drew international attention to Boko Haram. The USA and the United Kingdom sent experts to Nigeria to help with the search. A dead list attack came on January 2015 when they killed around 2000 people burning many of them alive in their own homes (Abubakar & Karimi, 2015).
Most Nigerian Muslims are opposed to Boko Haram’s tactics. People who live in the Northern Nigeria claim that for Boko Haram there is no difference if you are a child, a man or a woman. You may be Christian or Muslim – it does not matter, you are a target. Boko Haram uses violence to create the atmosphere of fear in Nigeria. By public murdering, kidnapping and suicide bombing, they want to enlarge their sphere of influence and cause changes in social and political life of Nigerian people. Boko Haram members want to create an Islamic State on the territory of Nigeria. This terrorist group is accused of being related to the famous terrorist organization called Al-Quaeda.
In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is stated that everyone has the right for the freedom of thought, religion and belief. Boko Haram directly violates these rights by killing and kidnapping people and causing destruction. Terroristic groups only promote violence and take away people’s natural rights.
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Boko Haram’s terroristic activity cannot be analyzed separately from the issues of globalization. International terrorism of the 21s century is extremely dangerous, because it takes its power from the globalization. With the rapid development of the media, the effect of “the global village” is achieved, for example, by using the internet. Boko Haram members have recorded a video after kidnapping the Chibok girls. Soon this video has become available on the internet and could be seen in real time from any part of the world. In this way, terrorists extended their sphere of influence. Although Boko Haram claims to be against the Western civilization and consider everything Western to be sinful, these terrorists use mobile phones and the internet for their violent campaigns to transmit a broader message. As a result, people all over the world know what is going on in Nigeria.
Regrettably, terrorism is like a disease or a natural disaster, as it is a part of the human condition. Terrorism is designed to promote fear and panic in a population. Something should be dome not to allow terrorism to be present in the everyday lives of humans.
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