Boko Haram

The group Jama’atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad, known as Boko Haram, is an extremist Islamic group in Nigeria that has engaged in guerrilla warfare across the north of Nigeria. Its violent attacks on government offices, the United Nations, and civilians threaten to destabilize Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon.  A range of conflicting narratives persist around Boko Haram, and the group’s origins, motivations, and future plans remain a matter of debate.


Despite heightened security efforts, the group has managed to continue with its attacks. Since its inception, Boko Haram's primary areas of focus have been in the northern states of Yobe, Kano, Bauchi, Borno and Kaduna, although recent trends suggest that activities are moving southwards, with attacks being recorded in Plateau state, Abuja and Lagos (one suicide bombing incident). Jacob Zenn, in an article titled Boko Haram Opens New Fronts in Lagos and Nigeria’s Middle Belt and published by the Jamestown Foundation, refers to three zones of operations by Boko Haram. These three zones are reflected in the following map illustration:

Jacob Zenn uses the suicide bombing incident at Apapa port in Lagos on 25 June 2014 as well as three warnings by Boko Haram's leader, Shekau, during the preceding six months that an attack in southern Nigeria is imminent, as indication of Boko Haram's expansion trajectory into southern areas of Nigeria, referred to as Zone 3. 


Since its renaissance following the near terminal battle of Maiduguri in the summer of 2009, Boko Haram has been on an upward trajectory. Over the past three years it has embraced ever more ambitious goals (from encouraging northern Muslims to live more piously to turning Nigeria into an Islamic state), extended its area of operations (attacking targets as far south as Abuja), lengthened its list of targets (there is now no-one it is not prepared to kill), and developed its operational capabilities (its 2011 assault on the UN was the first suicide bombing ever carried out in Nigeria).


Arguably these latest attacks mark the next stage in the group’s evolution and offer vital and disturbing insights into how it might develop in the future. The assaults on Gujba, Benisheik, Dumba and Mamudo not only confirm many of the group’s earlier developments but also Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) growing influence over it. These atrocities bear striking similarities to those carried out by AQIM and its various forbears in Algeria in the mid-1990s.



  1. The first is the indiscriminate killing of its members. In return, Boko Haram’s leaders encourage its members to target people and institutions that have harmed it: policemen, officials, prison guards, clerics and journalists who speak out against it. Its members have twice attacked This Day, a newspaper close to the government.
  2. Boko Haram’s second grievance is economic inequality. It blames the government at every level for corruption and greed. Nigeria earns roughly $50 billion a year from its southern oil yet its northern citizens hardly benefit at all.
  3. The most recent pull factor is Boko Haram’s emancipation into a radicalised Islamic organisations where influences from groups like al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Shabaab could be observed in the increase in intensity and nature of attacks.  These influences are two pronged, namely direct (contact between groups and support networks) and indirect (copy-cat actions).


Also indicative of Boko Haram’s possible links with AQIM is its posting of video messages, which conform to an al-Qaeda, international jihadi “style”, and a new online presence - a tactic taken to a new level by al-Shabaab with its launch on Twitter. In the aftermath of the UN embassy bombing, Agence France Presse obtained a video in which Mohammed Abul Barra, a 27-year-old from Maiduguri, explains his reason for driving an explosive-laden car into the UN.  The speed at which the group developed the capability to produce large and effective improvised explosive devices and enlist suicide bombers to deliver them suggests links to groups like AQIM.


On June 14, 2010, Abu Musab Abd al-Wadoud, the leader of AQIM told Al Jazeera that his group would provide Boko Haram with support and weapons to build strategic depth in Africa. Following the announcement several reports stated Boko Haram member presence at AQIM training camps in the Sahel and that some of them even had received training from the jihadist group al Shabaab in Somalia.


Boko Haram is highly diverse: different areas and states host different cells or nodes of the group, and these operate in different ways, often with apparently little coordination or communication, resulting in confusing and contradictory statements and moves on the potential for peace. This intra-group diversity and factionalism are reason to be cautious about generalisations about the group, as various local manifestations may evolve, transform and act in unexpected ways. An example of intra-group diversity is seen in the use of cells within communities to ascertain forewarnings of Nigerian security force movements as well as accessing weapons and finances. On 30 June 2014, Nigerian authorities announced the arrest of three members belonging to a Boko Haram “terrorist intelligence cell”. Those arrested are:

  • Babuji Ya'ari, a businessman that reportedly "participated actively" in the mass kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls during April 2014.  A Nigerian Defence Ministry spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade, said in a statement that Ya'ari belonged to the Youth Vigilante Group popularly known as Civilian JTF (a vigilante group fighting Boko Haram) and used this membership as cover "while remaining an active terrorist." Olukolade's statement also accused Ya'ari of "spearheading" the June 2914 assassination of the emir of Gwoza and coordinating attacks that have killed hundreds in Maiduguri (Borno state): "Babuji has been coordinating several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011, including the daring attacks on customs and military locations as well as the planting of IEDs (explosive devices) in several locations.”

Photo Notes: 1 July 2014: Babuji Ya’ari following his arrest (Premium Times Nigeria)

  • Haj Kaka (female), which according to Olukolade was a spy for Boko Haram and also procured arms for the group;
  • Hafsat Bako (female), which is being referred to as a paymaster for Boko Haram as she was paying Boko Haram fighters. Bako reportedly told Nigerian soldiers that Boko Haram fighters are paid a minimum of 10,000 naira (about $60) depending on the task.

Olukolade’s full statement reads:


A terrorists’ intelligence cell headed by a businessman who participated actively in the abduction of School Girls in Chibok has been busted by troops. The man, Babuji Ya’ari who is also a member of the Youth Vigilante Group popularly known as Civilian JTF which he uses as cover while remaining an active terrorist, also spearheaded the murder of the Emir of Gwoza. His main role in the group is to spy and gather information for the terrorists group.

Babuji has been coordinating several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011, including the daring attacks on Customs and military locations as well as the planting of IEDs in several locations in the town.

The arrest of the businessman who is known to deal in tricycles has also yielded some vital information and facilitated the arrest of other members of the terrorists’ intelligence cell who are women. One of them, Hafsat Bako had earlier escaped to Gombe State to avoid suspicion but was tracked and arrested. Prior to her arrest, Hafsat coordinated the payment of other operatives on the payroll of the group. In her confession, she disclosed that a minimum of N10,000 is paid to each operative depending on the enormity of his task.

Another female suspect named Haj Kaka who doubles as an armourer and a spy for the terrorists group has also been arrested. Until their arrest, all the suspects actively operated a terrorists’ intelligence cell in collaboration with others still at large.

Female Recruitment Cell

On 4 July 2014, the Nigerian military announced the arrest of three suspected female terrorists who it accused of covertly recruiting females for the “women wing of Boko Haram”. The three suspects, Hafsat Bako, Zainab Idris and Aisha Abubakar, were detained while travelling in Adamawa State. According to defense officials, the three arrested women were planning to go to the forest outside Madagali to meet up with members of Boko Haram. Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu (Director of Nigerian Defence Information) said that the arrests followed a failed suicide bombing attempt on a military facility by a female terrorist in Gombe. He added that: “Investigations revealed that the suspects, led by Hafsat, have the mission to recruit members into the female wing of the terrorist group as well as conduct espionage for the group.” The arrested females’ strategy was to lure women, more specifically widows and young girls, by enticing them with male suitors who are mainly members of Boko Haram for marriage. Hafsat Bako, was reportedly married to a member of Boko Haram, Usman Bako, who was killed by the military.

PHOTO: Boko Haram female accomplice, informant arrested

Photo Notes: 3 July 2014: Hafsat Usman Bako

Troops uncover more members of Boko Haram female wing, 3 members arrested (PHOTOS)

Photo Notes: 3 July 2014: Zainab Idris

Troops uncover more members of Boko Haram female wing, 3 members arrested (PHOTOS)

Photo Notes: 3 July 2014: Aisha Abubakar


It is precisely this factionalism and which has lead to the second significant, emergent organised Islamist group, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan (also known as JAMBS or Ansaru), which has targeted western civilian targets and does appear to foster international links and areas of activity beyond Nigeria. Although Boko Haram's and Ansura split in 2012, their ties remain murky. in April 2013 a Boko Haram spokesman announced "They (Ansaru) are with us now. Whenever we hear of oppression, we do operations together." In November 2013, the U.S. Department of State announced the designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. 


Seond phase of attacks (see incident section below) Boko Haram perpetrated numerous killings, bomb and suicide bomb attacks, prison breaks, and kidnappings throughout the country. During 2012 the sect expanded its campaign of assaults and bombings from Borno, Bauchi, and Yobe states to Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, and Taraba states. The sect claimed responsibility for

  • coordinated assaults on multiple targets in Kano on 20 January 2012;
  • the suicide bombing of churches in Kaduna and Jos on Easter;
  • the suicide bombings of the This Day newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna on April 26;
  • the kidnapping and killing of British, Italian, and German hostages;
  • the bombing of multiple churches in Bauchi, Plateau, and Kaduna states in June 2012; prison breaks in Lokoja and Abuja; and
  • the killing of government, religious, and traditional figures.


Video: 2013 A video of the French family kidnapped in northern Cameroon, group claiming to be Boko Haram threatens to execute family. Feb 2013.

Video: 2012 Propaganda video of  sucide attack onThis Day newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna on April 26.

Video: March 14, 2014 Boko Haram attacked Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State in Nigeria’s northeast.  To demonstrate how easily they raided the barracks, they produced the video of the operation, with their leader, Abubakar Shekau warning of further bloodshed, including against civilians.  The video shows extremists shooting confidently in the Nigerian army's main barracks in north-eastern Nigeria and meeting no resistance during the raid.  The video also shows Islamic extremists breaking into a notorious detention center in the barracks and freeing hundreds, including militants. 

Boko Haram, also known as Jama'at Hijra Wa Takfir (JHWT), Nigerian Taliban, Taliban, Western Civilization is Forbidden, Western Education Is Sin, Western Education is Sacrilege, Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings), Group for the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad, People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad is an active group formed c. 2002.
Geographic: Image: Boko Haram propaganda banner
Ideology: Religious -- Islamic (Wahabb)
Tactics: Arson / vandalism / assassination / murder / bombings / kidnapping. Boko Haram’s associated incidents could be divided into two distinct phases, with the emancipation of radicalization a common thread.
Targets: Government (law enforcement) / Religious (groups) / Businesses / Religious (churches) / NGOs / Political Leaders / Banks / Beer and Poker Halls / Schools and Universities / Media Houses / Foreigners
Abubakar bin Mohammad aka Abubakar Shekau -- originally deputy commander now LEADER, Muhammad Yusuf, deceased -- FOUNDER and ORIGINAL LEADER, Abul-Qaqa aka Abu al-Qaqa -- (spokes person denied by Shekau 02/13), Abu Zinnira -- spokesman as of 03/13, Kabiru Sokoto (suspected bomber of 2012), Khalid al-Barnawi -- Shura Council Member. During January 2013 a bounty of N50 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Mamman Nur, Salisu Mohammed, Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazees - declared ceasefire 02/13, ‘Asalafi’ -- claimed to be Minister of Defence, ‘Danladi’ -- claimed to be Vice President, ‘Doctor’ -- bomb making expert, Suleiman - leader of the Abuja sect, Habibu Yusuf (aka Asalafi) -- Shura Council Member. During January 2013 a bounty of N50 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Momodu Bama -- Shura Council Member. During January 2013 a bounty of N50 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Mohammed Zangina -- Shura Council Member. During January 2013 a bounty of N50 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Abu Saad -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Abba Kaka -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Abdulmalik Bama --Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Umar Fulata -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Alhaji Mustapha -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Massa Ibrahim -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Hassan Jazair -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Ali Jalingo -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Alhaji Musa Modu -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Bashir Aketa -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Abba Goroma -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Ibrahim Bashir -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Abubakar Zakariya -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force., Tukur Ahmed Mohammed -- Commander. During January 2013 a bounty of N25 million was set by the Nigerian Joint Task Force.

TRAC Info graph 2014 Boko Haram leadership structure 

Map of Incidents

Map indicates Boko Haram linked attacks since July 2009:

Embedded image permalink

Map Notes: 2014: Retrieved from:


Focused in Northern Nigeria, Boko Haram is known to target non-Muslims living in Northern Nigeria and other civilians; however, they are also known for attacking fellow Muslims to enforce their interpretation of Islam. Espousing a strict hatred towards state authority, both to the governor and the police, the group has threatened Jihad against the government; often targets Igbo civilians, a predominately Christian ethnic group. 2009 an initiative by the Nigeria military to eradicate Boko Haram led to the death of the sect’s leaders, hundreds of their members and the destruction of their communities and properties. 2010 transformed into a Jihadist group claiming their rights as Muslims to use force against injustices done to them. In the spring of 2012 Boko Haram went on a rampage against army officers, high ranking civil servants, United Nations workers, and other perceived supporters of the Nigerian government. It claimed responsibility for burning a dozen government supported schools that displaced thousands of children from their classrooms. 2013 Boko Haram starts implementing international attacks, (kidnappings of foreigners, as well as kidnapping across borders in Cameroon), with Shekau's endorsement. April 2013 clashed with Nigerian security forces resulting in 180 dead and the destruction of 2,000 homes. June 2013 Young men known as "Civilian JTF," armed with knives, machetes and sticks took to the streets searching, targeting and attacking suspected fighters and members of Boko Haram. Boko Haram members allegedly attacked people who cooperate with the Nigerian military, known as the Joint Task Force (JTF). In response to such attacks, the Civilian JTF was formed to support Nigerian soldiers in their offensive against radical Islamic extremists in north east Nigeria. FROM TRAC CONTRIBUTOR Jasmine Opperman:Boko Haram real strength is in its ability to continuously change its strategies and tactics to adapt to counter terrorism efforts by the Nigerian Government. Since Boko Haram’s first attack on Bauchi prison in September 2010, the group has adopted increasingly sophisticated tactics, with the most recent being a focus on mass killings of civilians in the Borno and Yobe states. Boko Haram’s tactics include the use of official military uniforms of the Nigerian Defense Force that allows not only effective cover for open presence but also the staging of snap road blocks. These snap road blocks are mostly conducted at main highways in the north eastern parts that resulted in an increase in attacks on villagers and travellers since August 2013. A media report during October 2013 stated that on the highway from Benisheik to Maiduguri, Boko Haram killed over 200 people. Consequently it entrenched local community perceptions that Boko Haram dominates the areas of operation. In addition, access to official uniforms does present a probability of collusion with Nigerian officials and military units, therewith adding to Boko Haram’s sustainability as the most pronounced threat in Northern Nigeria. In this regard Nigerian Government senators in Northern Nigeria have been accused of such collusion.

A summary of major attacks by Boko Haram:

  • 2005-2008: Boko Haram focussed on recruiting new members. As evidence of their growing popularity, Borno State governor Ali Modu Sheriff appoints an influential Boko Haram member, Buju Foi, as commissioner of religious affairs in 2007.
  • 11-12 June 2009: The then Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf threatened reprisals in a video recording following the killing of 17 Boko Haram members in a joint military and police operation in Borno State.
  • 26 July 2009: A short-lived uprising in northern Nigeria, which was quelled by a military crackdown that leaves more than 800 dead, most being Boko Haram fighters, including the then Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf. A mosque in the capital of Borno State (Maiduguri) that served as Boko Haram’s headquarters was burnt down.
  • 7 September 2010: Freed over 700 inmates including around 100 sect members from a prison in Bauchi. Four people including a soldier, one policeman and two residents were killed in the raid.
  • 24 December 2010: A series of bombs allegedly planted by the group explode in the central Nigerian city of Jos, killing 80 people.
  • 26 August 26 2011: a bomb attack on the UN building in Abuja killed at least 21 people and injured over 120.
  • 04 November 2011: Boko Haram members bomb government buildings and shoot their way through the city of Damaturu, killing more than 100 people, while bombs and a suicide attack in Maiduguri leave 4 dead.
  • 25 December 2011: Boko Haram claims responsibility for a Christmas Day attack on a Catholic church in Madalla near Nigeria's capital and two churches elsewhere that kill at least 42 people.
  • 20 January 2012: Boko Haram claims responsibility for a series of coordinated bombings and gun battles around the city of Kano that kill at least 185 people.
  • April 2012: attacked the Theatre Hall at Bayero University, Kano, with IEDs and gunshots, killing nearly 20 persons.
  • 26 April 2012: VBIEDs simultaneously exploded at the offices of This Day newspaper in Abuja and Kaduna, killing five persons and wounding many others.
  • 17 June 2012: attacks on three churches in Kaduna State killed worshippers and instigated violence throughout the State. At least 10 people were killed and an additional 78 were injured in the riots that ensued. 
  • 8 February 2013: nine Nigerian women working in a polio vaccination campaign in Kano were killed by gunmen riding in three-wheeled motorcycles; several other polio workers were injured. 
  • 18 March 2013: a VBIED attack on two luxury buses at a motor park in the Sabon Gari neighborhood of Kano killed more than 20 persons and wounded scores.
  • 6 July 2013: over 50 students were killed in their dormitories at Mamudo Government Secondary School in Yobe State.
  • 11August 2013: gunmen killed approximately 44 persons praying at a mosque outside Maiduguri and another 12 civilians in a near-simultaneous attack at a nearby location in Borno State.
  • 29 September 2013: gunmen killed more than 40 students in the dormitory of an agricultural technical school in Yobe State.
  • November 2013: Boko Haram members kidnapped a French priest in Cameroon.
  • 2 December 2013:, a coordinated and complex attack by violent extremists on the Maiduguri airport and air force base killed over 24 persons, wounded dozens, and destroyed a large amount of military equipment, including several military helicopters.
  • 20 December 2013: violent extremists assaulted the Nigerian army barracks in Bama, southern Borno State, in a well-coordinated attack that killed approximately 20 military personnel and numerous civilians. 
  • 14 January 2014: at least at least 31 were killed and 50 injured by suicide bomber in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.
  • 26 January 2014: Boko Haram militants blow up the main market with homemade bombs, shoot at people and then set huts on fire in Kawuri village, killing at least 85 people.
  • 16 February 2014: Boko Haram militants attacked numerous villagers and slit the throats of others, killing more than 50 people in Izghe village in Borno state. This follows a Nigerian bombing campaign against the group.
  • 19 February 2014: Boko Haram attacks the agricultural and commercial centre in Bama town, killing at least 115 people, destroying more than 1,500 homes and destroying some 400 vehicles. The attack comes the same day the leader of the terrorist network warns leading Nigerian Muslim political, religious and traditional leaders that his fighters will target them for pursuing democracy and Western-style education.
  • 25 February 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters killed at least 59 students at a boarding school in Yobe state, locking some into a dormitory and burning them alive.
  • 14 March 2014: Boko Haram launches an assault on the main Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri and claims to have freed 2,000 detainees held there. The battle that ensues kills about 425 people, mainly detainees that included civilians.
  • 14 April 2014: An explosion believed caused by a bomb buried in the ground exploded at a bus station Abuja federal capital, killing at least 71 people and wounding 124.

Video Notes: April 2014: BBC Report on Abuja bus bombing that killed approximately 70 people

  • 14 April 2014: Boko Haram abducted approximately 270 girls at a boarding school in northeastern Nigeria, the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, west of Maiduguri.

Video Notes: May 2014: AFP initially reported that Boko Haram's leader said the girls would not be released until members of the terror group being held in prison are freed. 
"It is now four years or five years that you arrested our brethren and they are still in your prison. You are doing many things (to them). And now you are talking about these girls. We will never release them until after you release our brethren."

  • 05 May 2014: Attacked Gamboru Ngala, a remote state capital near Nigeria's border with Cameroon that has been used as a staging ground for Nigerian security forces in the search for the abducted 270 school girls. Reports suggested that at least 310 victims were burned alive. Boko Haram fighters were wearing military uniforms and used three armored personnel carriers during the attack.
  • 07 May 2014: A Nigerian police officer was wounded during an armed assault by Boko Haram fighters on the road between Maiduguri and Chibok, where 200 schoolgirls were abducted on 14 April 2014.
  • On 6 May 2014, two bombings at Jos (central Nigeria) that killed more than 120 people.
  • On 22 May 2014 three attacks on villages in remote parts of Borno state. The most deadly was in the town of Kerenua, near the Niger border. Militants opened fire on residents, killing 20, and burned houses. The other attacks were at Kubur Viu (5 people killed) and Kimba (3 people killed). Inserted photo shows Kerenua following the Boko Haram attack:


    • On 24 May 2014 a suicide bomber killed 3 people in Jos. The suicide bomber intended to target people gathered at the TV screening of a football match, but the bomb denoted before he could reached the people.
    •  On 26 May 2014, gunmen attacked Chinene village in the Chikide-Joghode-Kaghum Ward, Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State, killing 9 persons and setting ablaze six churches and residential houses.
    • On 26 May 2014, suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked the Ashigashiya town in Borno, killed 9 people. The fighters took control of the town for several hours, burned homes and raised white flags with Arabic inscriptions.
    • On 26 May 2014, Boko Haram militants attacked a Nigerian military base and adjacent police barracks simultaneously in the north-eastern town of Buni Yadi (Yobe region), during which 31 security personnel was killed. According to an eyewitness the attackers arrived in an armoured personnel carrier and six Toyota pick-up vehicles. The eye witness also said that the attackers used rocket propelled grenades. In contradiction to previous attacks, the gunmen called at residents not to flee as the attack was aimed against Nigerian security personnel. In addition, one of the attackers shouted in English: “Let’s go, let's go. Finish this and let's go." The insurgents also razed the police barracks, the army base, the high court and residence of district head Abba Hassan. This attack is in close proximity to a February 2014 attack on a boarding school during which 59 pupils were either shot or burned to death.
    • On 29 May 2014, suspected Boko Haram members killed 32 people in the northeastern village of Gurmushi, near Nigeria's border with Cameroon. The suspected Boko Haram members launched an armed assault, shooting at residents whilst travelling on motorbikes.
    • On 30 May 2014, suspected Boko Haram fighters shot and killed an Islamic leader in the Borno state.Alhaji Idrissa Timta, the emir of Gwoza, was shot in his car while travelling in a convoy to the funeral of the emir of Gombe, who passed away recently in London. The emirs of Uba and Askira were also in the convoy and reportedly escaped the ambush.  Traditional Muslim leaders perceived to be aligned to the Nigerian government have been targets of attacks as Boko Haram views them as supporting the Nigerian Government.  During January 2013, Emir Al Haji Ado Bayero of Kano, regarded as the second-most important Muslim leader in Nigeria behind the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, escaped an assassination attempt by Boko Haram. Sa’ad Abubakar III has called for a unified strategy in countering Boko Haram in a public address at the National Mosque during the weekend of 25 and 26 May 2014.

    Photo Notes: 30 May 2014: A Nigerian Islamic leader addressing followers.

  • 31 May 2014: The Cameroon defence force clashed with Boko Haram gunmen in Waza-Dabanga in the Far North Region of Cameroon. This was the first major clash between the Cameroon army and Boko Haram since the Paris Summit on security in Nigeria on 17 May 2014. According to the Cameroon Government, approximately 40 Boko Haram fighters were killed and vehicles destroyed.

June 2014

  • 1 June 2014: At least 14 have been killed and 12 others injured in an explosion at a television viewing center for football in Mubi, northeast Nigeria. Though Boko Haram has not cliamed resonsibility for the attack, the area has frequently been targeted by the group.
  • 2 June 2014: Suspected Boko Haram gunmen opened fire on a church service in the northeast Nigerian village of Attangara during which 9 people were killed.
  • 3-4 June 2014: Suspected Boko Haram militants killed more than 200 civilians in Attagara, Agapalawa and Aganjara, in the Gwoza area. Goshe, was also hit by Boko Haram, where at least 100 people were killed. One resident said: "They laid siege on the village and opened fire with Kalashnikovs and fired RPGs, burning the entire village with its 300 homes and a few mosques."

Members of civilian joint task force patrol in Maiduguri on 22 May 2014.

Photo Notes: June 2014: In response to Boko Haram attacks communities are relying on self-defence groups in the Borno state.

  • 4 June 2014: At Barderi, a village near Maiduguri, Boko Haram fighters gathered local people and fired at them, killing at least 45 civilians.
  • 5 June 2014: A suicide bombing at the private residence of Gombe state governor Ibrahim Dankwambo killed 4 people.
  • 9 June 2014: Boko Haram reportedly kidnapped 20 women at the Garkin Fulani village (near Chibok) in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram fighters arrived at the Garkin Fulani village and forced the women at gunpoint into their vehicles. Three men who tried to stop the attack were also taken.
  • 10 June 2014: About 300 suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked Gorsi Tourou in North Cameroon, burning churches and looting property. A village chief, Moussa Sambo, said that some of the attackers took position on the hills surrounding their village to monitor the movements of Cameroon's military, which arrived about two hours later and engaged the militants in battle.
  • 11 June 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters killed at least nine people and burned down two churches in Tanjol and Tashek in Nigeria's central Plateau state.
  • 15 June 2014:15 people were killed when suspected members of Boko Haram terrorists stormed a local market in Daku village of Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno state. Several shops, houses, vehicles and motorcycles were set ablaze.
  • 18 June 2014: A suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated a tricycle taxi with explosives at an outdoor World Cup viewing center in in Damaturu (Yobe State) that killed at least 13 people.

Photo Notes: 18 June 2014: The World Cup viewing centre following the suicide bombing.

  • 20 June 2014: Boko Haram fighters, dressed in military uniform attacked the villages of Imirsa, Shuwari, Yaza, Humabza and Anguwar Shuwa during which homes were burnt and about 10 people killed. Approximately 15 000 people fled the villages and surrounding areas and took refuge in Gulak, the headquarters of the local government.
  • 24 June 2014: Suspected Boko Haram militants attacked a military checkpoint at Bulamburin village in Borno State killing at least 12 soldiers. According to soldiers at the checkpoint, 25 Boko Haram fighters were killed during the armed assault.
  • 25 June 2014: Bombing of a shopping mall in the Wuse 2 neighborhood of Abuja, killing at least 21 people. This was the third bombing by suspected Boko Haram members during the last three months in Abuja.

Video Notes: June 2014: Bomb Blast at Banex Shopping Plaza, Wuse 2, Abuja, Nigeria


Photo Notes: 25 June 2014: Bombing of the shopping mall in Abuja.


Photo Notes: 25 June 2014: Bombing of the shopping mall in Abuja.

  • 27 June 2014: Boko Haram fighters are accused of a bomb blast at a Nigerian brothel that has killed 11 people and wounded 28 more. The explosion happened in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Bauchi.The brothel in Bauchi, Nigeria was destroyed in the explosion, which claimed 11 lives and wounded 28 others

Photo Notes: 28 June 2014: The brothel in Bauchi, Nigeria that was destroyed in the explosion, which claimed 11 lives and wounded 28 others.

  • 29 June 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked Kwada and Kautikari villages in north-eastern Nigeria (approximately 10 kilometres from Chibok). At Kwada at least four churches were set alight, including COCCIN church, EYN church and Deeper Life Bible Church. The fighters moved to Kautikari where worshippers were attacked and churches burned. According to initial reports, the attacks resulted in the killing of at least 50 people.
  • 30 June 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters invaded the Shani Local Government area of Borno state, setting ablaze the Divisional Police Station and buildings in the town. The fighters used Improvised Explosive Devices and petrol bombs during the attack. Shani is located in the southern part of Borno state and about 245 kilometres drive from Maiduguri and shares boundary with some parts of Adamawa state.

Map Notes: July 2014: As illustrated by TRAC

Map Notes: July 2014: As illustrated by TRAC

  • On 3 July 2014, suspected Boko Haram fighters killed 5 people in Konduga (Borno) when a bomb believed to have been planted in a pickup van loaded with firewood exploded. The bombing targeted members of the Civilian JTF and police officials at a checkpoint. The bombing followed reported Boko Haram losses during two military offensives as well as a few hours after Boko Haram gunmen attempted to attack a military base in Damboa town, 85km south of Maiduguri the Borno State capital, but ended up with heavy casualty.
  • On 4 July 2014, 15 people, including motorists, were killed when suspected Boko Haram gunmen laid ambush along Maiduguri -Mafa- Dikwa Road. Mafa is about 45 kilometres east, while Dikwa is about 70 kilometres drive from Maiduguri and suffered a series of deadly attacks by terrorists in recent times. Gunmen who attacked passengers reportedly were dressed in military camouflage uniforms; disguised as soldiers on the main road and intercepted three vehicles.
  • 6 July 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters, dressed in military uniforms, killed seven people in an attack at Krenuwa village in the Marte district, near the northeastern border with Cameroon. The gunmen, five of whom were killed, razed a police station and a military camp during the attack.
  • 8/9 July 2014: Nigerian soldiers attempted to regain control over the Damboa military base that resulted in 15 soldiers killed when Boko Haram fighters counter attacked. Sahara reporters described the incident: "Our source stated that the militants, who had hoisted their flag on the base, had dug a trench where many of their heavily armed gunmen lay in ambush awaiting what they knew would be the inevitable arrival of a contingent of soldiers to retake the base. As soon as the soldiers approached, the Islamist militants surprised them by opening fire from their trenches, killing as many as 15 soldiers and wounding many more."
  • 12/13 July 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters destroyed the main bridge linking Maiduguri-Damboa-Madafuma- Biu Road.
  • 14 July 2014: Shekau claims credit for the 25 June 2014 Lagos bombing incident in a video statement released by AFP: ‘A bomb went off in Lagos. I ordered (the bomber) who went and detonated it’ and ‘You said it was a fire incident. Well, if you hide it from people you can’t hide it from Allah.’ The bombing incident was at Creek Road near the Burma Road junction in Apapa, Lagos State, western Nigeria. Nigerian government authorities denied that the explosion was a car bombing and stated the cause as an accident from a gasoline tanker parked beside a gasoline depot in Apapa.

Video Notes: 14 July 2014: Boko Haram leader claims credit for Lagos and Abuja bombings on 25 June 2014

Photo Notes: 2014: Gas tanker that "caused" the explosion according to Nigerian authorities.

  • 14 July 2014: Dille village in Askira Uba Local government of Borno State was attacked by suspected Boko Haram gunmen and killed 26 people as well as torching houses and three churches. Dille village is located approximately 200km south of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital and also shares borders with the peripheries of Sambisa Forest where it is believed the Boko Haram gunmen are currently hiding. According to Jabani Gadzama, a resident of Dille, the suspected Boko Haram fighters arrived with three Toyota Hilux vehicles and several motorcycles. Gadzama said that: “They were using some kind of petrol bombs to set ablaze three churches, residential houses including that of a former Commissioner of Sports and Poverty Alleviation, Daniel Ijai Mamza, who served during former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff’s tenure.
  • 14 July 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked the Mandafuma village in Biu Local Government Area of the Borno state, injuring one person and destroying property.
  • 15 July 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked the Borno State village of Huyim village in Biu Local Government Areawith and killed about 9 people.
  • 15 July 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked the Sabon Gari village in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State and killed approximately 27 people. Sabon Gari is located about 40 kilometres from Biu in southern Borno, and 145 kilometres away from Maiduguri. 
  • 16 July 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters kidnapped a German in Gombi town of Adamawa State. The man, who is said to be the principal of a technical skill acquisition centre in the town, was abducted on his way to work.
  • 17 July 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters destroyed a bridge in Gambou Ngala (Borno State), which linked Nigeria to Cameroon. The attack occured on the outskirts of Gambou Ngala during which at least 30 local residents were killed. The small bridge linked the immigration checkpoints of both Cameroon and Nigeria. Nobody has claimed responsibility for this attack, residents of Gamboru Ngala strongly suspect Boko Haram.

photo - Boko Haram Destroys Bridge Linking Nigeria To Cameroon

Map Notes: Map as published by NaiJ on 18 July 2014

  • 18 July 2014: Boko Haram fighters killed approximately 80 villagers and set homes a blaze in Damboa (northeastern Nigerian town just 85 kilometers (53 miles) from Maiduguri). The fighters attacked the residents whilst they were preparing for a 5 am prayers. Boko Haram besieged the town for two weeks prior to the attack. According to local residents Boko Haram fighters countered Nigerian Defense Force attempts at reaching the town during the preceding week.
  • 23 July 2014: Two suicide bombings in Kaduna (north central city in Nigeria) during which approximately 82 people were killed. The first suicide bombing targeted a moderate Muslim cleric Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi. Reuters reports that Bauchi was leaving a prayer service, and though he was not killed 32 people were confirmed dead at the scene. Bauchi’s home was targeted in an attack on 1 July 2014. Bauchi is openly supporting inter-religious cooperation between Christians and Muslims and has also criticised Boko Haram as being un-Islamic. A second suicide attack targeted the Kaduna's Kawo market area, killing approximately 50 people. The second attack targeted General Muhammadu Buhari, an opposition leader. Boko Haram as yet has claimed credit for the attacks. Boko Haram links to the attack on Buhari seems unlikely as past references by the group to Buhari showed respect and admiration.  Boko Haram, for example has acknowledged Buhari as the only government official that they could accept as ‘trustworthy, honest, incorruptible and impartial’.

Video Notes: 23 July 2014: Video footage of suicide bombing in Kaduna

A scene from the second bomb blast in Kaduna, Nigeria on 23 July 2014

People stand near a wrecked car after a bomb exploded on July 23, 2014 in Kaduna, north of Nigeria

Photo Notes: 23 July 2014: BBC News: Aftermath of suicide bombing at Kaduna market


Photo Notes: July 2014: General Muhammad Buhari vehicle in which he was travelling during the attack.

Muhammadu Buhari pictured in 2011

Photo Notes: 23 July 2014: BBC News: Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari came a distant second in presidential elections in 2011

  • 24 July 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters launched a crossborder raid into Cameroon during which 2 Cameroonian soldiers were killed. 
  • 24 July 2014: Boko Haram fighters attacked a community in the south of Borno State, killing its district leader, Alhaji Ibrahim Dawi, and about 12 people. Residents of Garubula village in Biu local government area of the state confirmed that Dawi was shot dead.
  • 27 July 2014: Boko Haram fighters kidnapped the wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister and killed at least three people during an attack on the northern town of Kolofata, Cameroon. A local religious leader and Kolofa's mayor was also kidnapped. This is the third attack by Boko Haram in the Cameroon border areas since 24 July 2014.

  • 27 July 2014:Boko Haram fighters killed 30 per­sons in an attack on ommunities in Hong and Gombi, situated in the local government ar­eas of Adamawa State. The the village head of Zar community, Dauda Daniel (a retired Wing Commander)  was also feared missing following the attacks.
  • 27/28 July 2013: Three bombings in Kano. On 28 July 2014 a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a petrol station killing one other person. On 27 July 2014 a female suicide bomber killed herself while trying to target police officers and a bomber hurled explosives at worshippers in a Catholic church, in the mainly Christian Sabon Gari area, killing five and wounding eight.

  • 29 July 2014: Boko Haram is accused of two suicide bombing in Potiskum (Yobe State) during which 55 people were killed. According to witnesses, the first explosions occurred near the palace of the Emir of Potiskum at the Shi'ia Kalli Alkali Mosque. The second explosion was at a Majalisa, where Shi’ate Muslims were resting at one of the primary schools in Potiskum.
  • 30 July 2014: Boko Haram fighters set a light five churches in communities south of Borno, namely Kwajaffa, Tashan Alade and some communities in Hawul Local Government Area in the southern part of the state.

August 2014

© NigerianCoin

Image Notes: 01 September 2014: Nigerian Coin: Boko Haram Attacks: August 2014

  • 04 August 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked Dubuwa village in Chad during which 6 people were killed. The attackers targeted Nigerians who were taking refuge at the village. Sources said the insurgents stormed Dubuwa village in Chad from Kirenowa, a border town in Marte Local Government Area of Borno State.
  • 6 August 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters killed 10 people in a raid on a remote village in north Cameroon, Zigague. Cameroon deployed more than 1,000 soldiers to the border areas with Nigeria during July 2014 in a bid to prevent such attacks.
  • 6 August 2014: Boko Haram fighters captured the town of Gwoza in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria and killed about 100 people. Nigerian Army soldiers guarding the town fled. Boko Haram fighters burnt down the divisional police headquarters, the local government secretariat and other public buildings in the town. In response, residents fled to the mountains along Nigeria and Cameroon borders.
  • 6 August 2014: KGS Nightwatch reported that a special Nigerian Army unit, 25 Task Battalion, recaptured the town of Damboa, also in Borno State, which had been under the control of Boko Haram since 18 July 2014. A Nigerian security officer said the ground forces received artillery support and air support from the Nigerian Air Force.  Fulani Sitrep provided the following detail on the recapturing of Damboa:

The Nigerian Army assault on Damboa Town began before daylight on Tuesday 5th August 2014, with Special Forces (Nigerian Army) raids on insurgent outposts at the approaches of the town. Forewarned about the military’s battle plan, the Joint Yusufiyya commander of the town’s defenders, said by my sources to be Abu Musa Al-Jaali As-Sudani (real names unknown) a Sudanese commander in Harakatul-Muhajiriin, ordered a retreat from the indefensible outposts to the more defendable , while he and his men prepared to engage the attacking soldiers.

The Special Forces raids were followed by aerial bombardment of rebel-held positions inside the town and surrounding areas by the 79th Composite Group and the 75th Strike Group of the Nigerian Airforce based in Maiduguri, which lasted thirty minutes.

The initial ground assault by the infantrymen of 7th Infantry Division backed by AFVs (Armoured Fighting Vehicles) and half a dozen T-55s/T-64s was engaged by the insurgents at Duniyari, and after several hours of fighting in which the insurgents employed RPG-7s (according to an Army source) and a few 9K11 Malyutka (NATO reporting name AT-3 Sagger) anti-tank missiles, the Army’s attack was repulsed. However this was a feint attack.

A simultaneous prong (containing the main force) was also launched at the time the Duniyari engagement began. Under aerial, gunship and artillery fire the advancing soldiers succeeded in entering Damboa Town, but met stiff resistance from the insurgents who used booby traps,  RPGs, snipers and IEDs to slow the soldiers before fighters opened fire on them from inside houses (abandoned by their residents) and courtyard, and also from heavily entrenched positions. Using 12.5mm and 57mm Anti-Aircraft Artillery guns, rebels rendered impotent the air cover the Nigerian Airforce was providing to the Army (the NAF uses mostly Dornier Alpha Jets, MEB-339s, L-39s and F-7s, a few of the MEB-339s and Alpha Jets were the air cover for the battle, two were reportedly damaged by ground Triple A fire).

Despite Nigerian Government sponsored disinformation, sources on both sides confirm that 70% of Damboa Town is under rebel control, 10% is held by the Army, while 20% is contested. However the situation is still very fluid and can change at any time. But as now, the whole of Damboa Town and surrounding areas are controlled by the rebels except the highway to Maiduguri.

Photos of Nigerian Security Forces in Damboa (Abusidiqu): 





  • 7 August 2014: Boko Haram fighters killed at least 50 people during an assault on Gwoza (northeastern Nigeria). Boko Haram captured the town and reportedly kidnapped or killed a traditional Muslim leader, Muhammed Idrissa Timta. Fulani Sitrep described the attack:

The Battle of Gwoza began on Tuesday 5th August 2014, around 9:00pm. Hundreds of Jamaa’atu Ahlis-Sunnah/Sheikh Bukar fighters assaulted the town and headquarters of Gwoza LGA of Borno State in Toyota Pickups and armoured vehicles. The rebels first attacked the military base and police station, overrunning them and capturing some military and police personnel, before seizing the rest of the town and clearing the area of CJTF (Civilian Joint Task Force) militiamen. Scores of people marked by insurgent spies as collaborators and government spies were either killed or bundled into trucks and driven towards Damboa. Most of the residents of the town have fled into the surrounding 1300m high Gwoza Hills or the higher Mandara Mountains. By 4:00am local time, the entire LGA was under insurgent control, with government troops forced to flee at all other outposts in the area that were attacked. The Emir of Gwoza, the area’s traditional head has not been seen sinced the rebels captured the town. Alhaji Muhmmad Idriss Timta replaced his father who was killed along with the Emir of Askira-Uba on May 30th, by the insurgents. Also the bridge at Pulka south of Gwoza, has been blown by rebel demolition teams. This cuts off Gwoza and thus Bama LGA from Adamawa State to the south.

  • 07 August 2014: Boko Haram fighters captured military camps in Buni Yadi, Buni Gari and Goniri, located in the Gujba Local Government area of Yobe State. A recent bombing of the Katarko Bridge by Boko Haram has temporarily cut-off both traffic and human movement between Buni Yadi, the capital town of Gujba local government area and the Yobe state capital, Damaturu.
  • 10 August 2014: Boko Haram militants attacked Doron Baga in Borno State during which 10 people were killed. According to a local vigilante group, Boko Haram militants also kidnapped about 100 boys and young men during the attack.
  • 07 August 2014: Suspected Boko Haram fighters killed nine passengers on a bus and a soldier in a separate vehicle in Kousseri (north eastern Cameroon). Four people were also abducted, that included a police officer, two sons of the chief of Zigué Zigagué village in the Far North region and the brother of the sultan of Waza.
  • 11 August 2014:More than 100 civilians and several soldiers were killed in clashes between Nigeria's military and Boko Haram, when security forces tried to  recapture Gwoza (north-eastern Borno State), which has been under Boko Haram’s control for more than a week. Boko Haram appointeded a replacement for the town’s fleeing Emir and implemented the Sharia law in Gwoza.

Photo Notes: 12 August 2014: The Palace of The Emir of Gwoza reportedly taken over by Boko Haram militants. 

  • Urban Centres In North East Nigeria Under Insurgent Control (Source: Fulani Sitrep)


  •     Damboa
  •     Gwoza
  •     Marte
  •     Dikwa
  •     Limankara
  •     Gamboru Ngala
  •     Banki
  •     Bama
  •     Ashgashiya


  •     Gujba
  •     Buni Yadi
  •     Gulani
  •     Kukuwa
  •     Bularafa
  •     Buni Gari
  •     Bara
  •     Tattaba
  •     Bumsa
  •     Njibulwa


  •     Madagali
  •     Gulak

September 2014

Boko Haram attacks on the Nigeria – Cameroon border from 1 to 5 (September 2014:

© NigerianCOIN

Map Notes: September 2014: Map as completed by Nigerian Coin

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