1st Edition

Understanding Boko Haram Terrorism and Insurgency in Africa

Edited By James J. Hentz, Hussein Solomon Copyright 2017
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    The primary objective of this book is to understand the nature of the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria.

    Boko Haram’s goal of an Islamic Caliphate, starting in the Borno State in the North East that will eventually cover the areas of the former Kanem-Borno Empire, is a rejection of the modern state system forced on it by the West. The central theme of this volume examines the relationship between the failure of the state-building project in Nigeria and the outbreak and nature of insurgency. At the heart of the Boko Haram phenomenon is a country racked with cleavages, making it hard for Nigeria to cohere as a modern state. Part I introduces this theme and places the Boko Haram insurgency in a historical context. There are, however, multiple cleavages in Nigeria  ̶  ethnic, regional, cultural, and religious  ̶  and Part II examines the different state-society dynamics fuelling the conflict. Political grievances are common to every society; however, what gives Boko Haram the space to express such grievances through violence? Importantly, this volume demonstrates that the insurgency is, in fact, a reflection of the hollowness within Nigeria’s overall security. Part III looks at the responses to Boko Haram by Nigeria, neighbouring states, and external actors. For Western actors, Boko Haram is seen as part of the "global war on terror" and the fact that it has pledged allegiance to ISIS encourages this framing. However, as the chapters here discuss, this is an over-simplification of Boko Haram and the West needs to address the multiple dimension of Boko Haram.

    This book will be of much interest to students of terrorism and political violence, insurgencies, African politics, war and conflict studies, and IR in general.

    1. Introduction: Theorizing Boko Haram: Understanding the Terrorist Threat, Hussein Solomon

    Part I: The Long Durée

    2. Boko Haram: A Jihadist Enigma in Nigeria, Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos

    3. The Boko Haram Paradox: Ethnicity, Religion, and Historical Memory in Pursuit of a Caliphate, Zacharias P. Pieri and Jacob Zenn

    4. Old Wine in a New Bottle: Ideological and Operational Linkages between Maitatsine and Boko Haram Revolts in Nigeria, Iro Aghedo

    Part II: The Nigerian State and Boko Haram

    5. Boko Haram and the Widening of Cleavages in Nigeria, Azeez Olaniyan and Lucky Asuelime

    6. Identity, Deprivation, Terror: Why Boko Haram Rebels, Daniel Agbiboa

    7. The Elusive Quest for Peace: Boko Haram and the Hollowness of Nigeria’s Counterinsurgency Strategy and Weak Security Architecture, Olabanji Akinola

    8. Mopping the Wet Floor of a Leaking Roof: Fighting Terror While Overlooking Radicalization, Ibaba Samuel Ibaba and Anthony Okoye

    Part III: Responses

    9. Portents of a Fractured Boko Haram for Nigeria’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Tactics, Gbemisola Abdul-Jelil Animasawun

    10. Effective Counter-Terrorism Against Boko Haram: Empirical Assessments of Coercion, Delegitimization, Incentivization and Denial Strategies in Nigeria (2009-2014), John A. Stevenson, Amy Pate, Elvis Asiamah

    11. The Western Response, Virginia Comolli

    12. Responding to Boko Haram: interrogating the Effectiveness of State and Regional Intervention Approaches, Kwesi Aning, Mustapha Abdallah and Festus Aubyn

    13. Conclusion: Nigeria and a War across States in Northwest Africa, James J. Hentz


    James J. Hentz is Professor and Chair of the Department of International Studies and Political Science at the Virginia Military Institute, USA. He is author/editor of numerous titles, including the Routledge Handbook of African Security (2013).

    Hussein Solomon is Senior Professor in the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the University of the Free State, South Africa, and author of Islamic State and the Coming Global Confrontation (2016).