The rise of Jama’atu Ahlis Suna Lidda’awati Wal Jihad or Boko Haram continues to generate major concerns in the West African sub-region. In particular, the kidnap of 276 girls at Government Secondary School Chibok, Borno state, Nigeria on 14 April, 2014 remains a watershed moment in the insurgency. The incident was a spectacular criminal act even by the standards of a country in which kidnapping had become relatively routine since the late 1990s, particularly in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. Boko Haram’s response has been to kidnap more people and destroy more homes. This paper draws on the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) to analyze the trends, patterns and social implications of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Findings indicate that the average number of victims killed in terrorist activities in Nigeria was much lower prior to Shekau’s Boko Haram. Nigeria registered about 124 terrorist fatalities per year on average in 2006, 2007, and 2008, while 730 fatalities were recorded on average in each of the following five years (2009 to 2013). This represents approximately six-fold increase in the number of deaths from terrorist attacks. The analysis also indicates that armed assault, bombing and explosion, and facility/infrastructure damage are the main techniques employed by Boko Haram. The paper concludes by articulating the implications of these findings vis-à-vis Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram.