2009 Boko Haram Uprising
|2009 Boko Haram Uprising|
|Part of Nigerian Sharia conflict|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Mohammed Yusuf †
| Umaru Yar'Adua
Ali Modu Sheriff
|Casualties and losses|
|Around 1,000 dead total.|
The 2009 Boko Haram Uprising was a conflict between Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group and Nigerian security forces. Violence across several states in northeastern Nigeria left over 1,000 dead, with around 700 killed in the city of Maiduguri alone, according to one military official.
A government inquiry later found that, while long-standing tensions existed between Boko Haram and the Nigerian Security forces, the immediate cause of the violence stemmed from an incident in which a group of the sect's members were stopped by police in the city of Maiduguri as they were on the way to the cemetery to bury a comrade. The officers, part of a special operation aimed at stamping out violence and rampant crime in Borno State, demanded that the young men comply with a law requiring motorcycle passengers to wear helmets. They refused and, in the confrontation that followed, several were shot and wounded by police.
According to initial media reports the violence began on 26 July when Boko Haram launched an attack on a police station in Bauchi state, with clashes between militants and the Nigeria Police Force spreading to Kano, Yobe and Borno soon after. However President Umaru Yar’Adua disputed this version of events, claiming that government security forces had struck first.
“I want to emphasize that this is not an inter-religious crisis and it is not the Taliban group that attacked the security agents first, no. It was as a result of a security information gathered on their intention ... to launch a major attack,’’ he said.
Nigerian troops surrounded the home of Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri on 28 July after his followers barricaded themselves inside.
At the time, it was the worst violence the country had experienced since November 2008. Islam online suggests that politics, not religion, was the cause of the violence. However some people, including Christian pastor George Orjih, were reportedly murdered specifically because they refused to convert to Islam.
Prior to the clashes, many local Muslim leaders and at least one military official had warned the Nigerian authorities about Boko Haram. Those warnings were reportedly ignored.
On 26 July, over fifty people were killed and several dozen were injured in Bauchi when a gun-battle erupted as a police station was attacked by seventy Nigerian Boko Haram gang members who possessed grenades and guns. 32 Boko Haram militants were killed in the fighting, along with a soldier. The government claimed that 39 militants had been killed, and confirmed the death of a soldier. The attack was carried out following the detainment of the gang's leaders. Security forces then retaliated by raiding the group's neighbourhoods.
Isa Yuguda, State Governor of Bauchi, commented: "We have pre-empted the militants. Otherwise the situation would have been bad. I'm calling on all the people of Bauchi to be calm and be rest assured the situation has been brought under control."
100 bodies were reported to be found beside police headquarters in Maiduguri. Hundreds of people are leaving their homes there to escape the violence. A jailbreak was also reported but this has not yet been confirmed. Several civilian corpses lie on the city's streets; many were shot dead after being pulled from cars. The country's army and police are on patrol and firing.
On 28 July, Army soldiers reportedly launched an offensive on the compound of sect leader Mohammed Yusuf and a nearby mosque used by his followers in the Borno state capital of Maiduguri. Troops shelled Mohammed Yusuf's home in the city after Yusuf's followers barricaded themselves inside. Shots rained across the city. On 30 July, Nigerian security forces killed 100 Boko Haram militants in fighting in Maiduguri. Security forces fought their way into a Mosque occupied by militants and raked the inside with machine gun fire. Elsewhere, Military and Police forces engaged militants in house to house fighting. It was initially reported that among them was Boko Haram vice-chairman Abubakar Shekau, but that has since been proven false as video has appeared of Shekau since. Nigerian policemen were also killed. Maidguri was declared secure, and Nigerian forces began setting up mortar positions to shell the remaining enemy compound. On 30 July, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, leader of Boko Haram, was captured by Nigerian security forces and was shot dead while in police custody, possibly while attempting to escape. On 2 August, another group of women and children abducted by the Boko Haram sect were found locked in a house in Maiduguri. The military said 700 people were killed in Maiduguri during the clashes. The Red Cross later said that 780 bodies had been taken from the streets of the city and buried in mass graves.
A gun-battle lasting several hours took place in Potiskum where a police station was set alight and burnt to the ground by militants using fuel-laden motorcycles, killing a police officer and a fire safety officer. Police engaged the fighters and wounded several. Police arrested twenty-three fighters in response. According to Nigerian sources, 43 Boko Haram fighters were killed in a shootout near the city on 30 July.
- Umar, Sani (2011). The Discourses of Salafi Radicalism and Salafi Counter-radicalism in Nigeria : A Case-study of Boko Haram. Northwestern University. p. 12.
- Nigeria: Boko Haram 101
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- Dr Ahmad Murtada (Islamic Studies Department, University of Bayero, Kano, Nigeria), Boko Haram: Its Beginnings, Principles and Activities in Nigeria
- Christian Science Monitor: Nigerian forces move in on Islamist radicals