Boko Haram: A Reign of Terror
Boko Haram is the Nigerian Islamist terror group and is translated as “western or secular education is a sin”.
Eyewitness News takes a look at the history of militant group Boko Haram and some of its most significant attacks during its reign of terror in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram is the Nigerian Islamist group with links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Shabaab.
Roughly translated, the phrase Boko Haram means "western or secular education is a sin".
Led by Abubakar Shekau, the group has intentionally attacked churches on Sundays during services in order to kill as many Christians as possible. It has repeatedly targeted Christians at churches, especially on religious holidays.
A file of a screengrab taken on October 2, 2014 from a video released by Boko Haram and obtained by AFP shows the leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau. Picture: AFP.
HISTORY OF THE GROUP
The group was formed in Maiduguri in 2002 and initially had a non-violent focus, with it preaching about the failure of government to transform the lives of ordinary people. It spoke of government corruption and unemployment and packaged itself as a movement focused on social change.
In 2009, its then leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed in police custody and the group was reshuffled and its modus operandi transformed.
TIMELINE OF BOKO HARAM ATTACKS
July 2009: THE UPRISING BEGINS
The tensions between Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces across several states in north-eastern Nigeria left more than 1,000 dead, with reports indicating that around 700 people were killed in Maiduguri alone.
In one incident on 26 July, more than 50 people were killed and several dozen injured in Bauchi after a gun-battle erupted when a police station was attacked by 70 Nigerian Boko Haram members with grenades and guns. Thirty-two militants were killed in the fighting.
7 September 2010: BAUCHI PRISON BREAK
Fifty gunmen attacked the prison. Five people were killed and six injured. A total of 721 prisoners escaped but 35 were later re-arrested.
31 December 2010: DECEMBER ABUJA ATTACK
This bomb attack left four people dead, including a pregnant woman, and 26 injured; all of the dead were civilians.
12 March 2011: IMAM ASSASSINATED
A Muslim cleric, Bashir Kashara, who opposed the extremist group was shot dead. Kashara ran a weekly Islamic programme on Borno state-run radio in which he criticised Boko Haram's ideologies.
29 May 2011: NORTHERN NIGERIA BOMBINGS
The blasts happened just a few hours after Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as president.
The first explosion struck the Zuba International Market in Abuja, killing two people and injuring 11. Three blasts also struck the Mammy Market in Bauchi, near the headquarters of Nigeria's 33rd Artillery Brigade. Thirteen died and 40 were injured.
26 June 2011: ATTACK ON A BEER GARDEN IN MAIDUGURI
At least 25 people were killed and 12 injured in a bomb attack believed to have been carried out by the extremists. Police said the attack was carried out by two men riding on motorcycles who threw bombs into three beer gardens in the city.
26 August 2011: ABUJA BOMBING
A car bomb explosion in the UN building killed at least 21 and wounded 60. Boko Haram later claimed responsibility.
4 November 2011: DAMATURU ATTACKS
The attacks were a series of coordinated assaults in the northern Nigerian city that killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds more. The group later claimed responsibility and promised "more attacks are on the way".
25 December 2011: NIGERIA BOMBINGS
A series of bombings occurred on Christmas Day church services in northern Nigeria. A total of 41 people were reported dead.
January 2012: NIGERIA ATTACKS
On 20 January after Friday prayers, a group of gunmen in police uniforms entered five police buildings and freed all inmates. They proceeded to bomb the buildings, two immigration offices and the local office of the State Security Service in Kano.
On 23 January the government announced the death toll stood at 185, with 150 of these civilians and 32 police officers, including three members of the secret police.
On 28 January the Nigerian army says it killed 11 Boko Haram insurgents.
A screengrab taken on 9 November 2014 from a new Boko Haram video released by the extremist group and obtained by AFP shows leader Abubakar Shekau (C, down), just before preaching to locals in an unidentified town. Picture: AFP.
3 June 2012: CHURCH BOMBING IN BAUCHI STATE
At least 11 people were killed in an attack on a church at a military base in Kaduna.
A suicide bomber rammed a bus packed with explosives into the church during services at the Jaji military barracks. Ten minutes later, as people were assisting the wounded, a suicide bomber in a Toyota Camry detonated in front of the church. Over 30 people were injured in the blasts.
17 June 2012: SUICIDE BOMBERS STRIKE CHURCHES IN KADUNA
Three church bombings and retaliatory attacks in northern Nigeria left 50 people dead and 130 others injured.
18 March 2013: KANO BUS BOMBING
A suicide attack was committed against Christian civilians at the Kano bus station, with all of those who were boarding the buses set to go to the mostly Christian south.
19 April 2013: DEADLIEST ATTACK SINCE 2009
The Baga massacre began on 16 April in the village of Baga, in Borno State, when more than 200 civilians were killed, hundreds wounded, and over 2,000 houses and businesses worth millions of Naira destroyed.
A file photo taken on 30 April, 2013 shows soldiers walking in the street in the remote northeast town of Baga, Borno State. Picture: AFP.
7 May 2013: ATTACKS IN BAMA TOWN
At least 55 people were killed and 105 inmates freed in coordinated attacks on army barracks, a prison and police post in Bama town .
6 July 2013: YOBE STATE SCHOOL SHOOTING
According to survivors, gunmen gathered the victims at a central location then began shooting and throwing explosives. The assailants also brought fuel to set the school on fire. Some were burned alive while others died of gunshot wounds. At least 42 people were killed, with most of the dead students.
11 August 2013: SHOOTING AT MOSQUE IN KONDUGA
At least 44 worshippers were shot dead at a mosque in north-eastern Nigeria during dawn prayers.
29 September 2013: COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE IN GUJBA
Gunmen opened fire on students while they were asleep. In total 44 students and teachers died in the attack.
16 February 2014: IZGHE MASSACRE
The Islamist militants raided a village and murdered dozens. The gunmen reportedly rounded up a group of men and shot them, before going door-to-door and killing anyone they found.
25 February 2014: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COLLEGE ATTACK
Militants barged into the Federal Government College while students were sleeping. They threw explosives into dorm rooms as they sprayed the rooms with gunfire.
Fifty-nine boys were killed in the attack. Some died from gunshots or knife wounds, while others were burned to death.
14 April 2014: CHIBOK KIDNAPPING
Government properties, including a girls' secondary school, were attacked. At least 16 were killed. Boko Haram kidnapped 276 female students.
May 2014: GAMBORU ATTACK
On the nights of 5 and 6 May, militants attacked the twin towns of Gamboru and Ngala in Borno State. Roughly 310 residents were killed in the 12-hour attack, and the town was largely destroyed. Most of the survivors fled to neighbouring Cameroon.
28 November 2014: LOCAL MOSQUE BOMBED
The bombing was a terrorist attack at the Central Mosque in Kano. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up and gunmen opened fire on those who were trying to escape. Around 120 people were killed and another 260 injured.
9 January 2015: 40 BOYS KIDNAPPED
Suspected Boko Haram militants kidnapped about 40 boys and young men in a raid on Kukawa, a remote village in north-eastern Nigeria.
January 2015: A NEW YEAR OF DEADLY ATTACKS
Nigeria's military said at least 150 people were killed in clashes with Islamists in the north eastern town of Baga, although other reports stated that some 2,000 had been killed by Boko Haram insurgents who took control of Baga and the surrounding area.
On 10 January a bomb worn by a girl aged about 10 exploded in a busy market place in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, killing at least 16 people and injuring more than 20, security sources said.