In October of last year, my colleague Colin wrote with guarded optimism about the ceasefire between the Nigerian military and the terrorist group, Boko Haram, questioning whether this news was actually too good to be true. In the months following that announcement, we’ve come to see that our cynicism was unfortunately well placed.
In November, Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau released a video in which he denied any claims made by the Nigerian government about the outcome of ceasefire, explicitly stating that the 200 kidnapped schoolgirls from Chibok had converted to Islam and been married off. This video dealt what could been seen as the final blow to the legitimacy of the statements coming from President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. Criticisms of this administration grow more vocal and more numerous, as analysts say that the only solution to Boko Haram’s attempted takeover of the Nigerian state is a military solution.
Boko Haram will stop at nothing in its advance through and out of Nigeria, and appeasement will certainly not end the violent rampages. If the Nigerian military were to pull back and effectively cede control of the territory the terrorist group already controls, it would only serve as incentive for the group to attack more towns and regions and expand its control.