2009 Boko Haram uprising
This article's lead section may be too long for the length of the article. (July 2019)
|2009 Boko Haram uprising|
|Part of Boko Haram insurgency|
|Commanders and leaders|
Mohammed Yusuf |
Umaru Yar'Adua |
Ali Modu Sheriff
|Casualties and losses|
|Around 1,000 dead total, mostly civilians |
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 resulted in more than 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 a confrontation between a group of sect members and police in the city of Maiduguri. The Boko Haram members were en route to bury a comrade at the cemetery. The officers, part of a special operation to suppress 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, police shot and wounded several of the men.
According to initial media reports, the violence began on 26 July when Boko Haram launched an attack on a police station in Bauchi State. Clashes between militants and the Nigeria Police Force erupted in Kano, Yobe and Borno soon after. But 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, the founder and spiritual leader of Boko Haram since 2002, in Maiduguri on 28 July after his followers had barricaded themselves inside. On July 30, the military captured Yusuf and transferred him to the custody of the police. They summarily executed him in public outside police headquarters.
Islam Online suggests that politics, not religion, was the cause of the violence. People such as Christian pastor George Orjih were 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 the Boko Haram sect. Those warnings were reportedly ignored.
Bauchi, Bauchi State
On 26 July, more than 50 people were killed and several dozen were injured in Bauchi when a gun-battle erupted as a police station was attacked by 70 Nigerian Boko Haram sect members who possessed grenades and guns. One government soldier and 32 Boko Haram militants were killed in the aftermath of the initial attack. The government claimed that 39 militants had been killed, and confirmed the death of a soldier. The attack was initiated by Boko Haram after their leaders were detained by the police. Security forces retaliated by raiding the neighbourhoods where the group was entrenched.
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."
Maiduguri, Borno State
In July 2009, media reported that 100 bodies were found beside police headquarters in Maiduguri. Hundreds of people were leaving their homes to escape the violence. A jailbreak was reported but was not immediately confirmed. Several civilian corpses lay in the city's streets; witnesses said they had been shot after being pulled from their cars. The country's army and police were both on patrol and firing at suspects.
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, raking the interior with machine gun fire. Elsewhere, Military and Police forces engaged militants in house-to-house fighting. It was initially reported that Boko Haram vice-chairman Abubakar Shekau had been killed, but he was later reported alive. Nigerian policemen were also killed. After the government declared Maidguri to be secured, Nigerian forces began setting up mortar positions to shell the remaining enemy compound.
On 30 July, Yusuf was captured by the military and handed over to the police at the police headquarters in Maiduguri. Police officers summarily executed Yusuf inside the compound in full view of public onlookers. Police officials initially claimed that either Yusuf was shot while trying to escape or died of wounds sustained during a gun battle with the military. The police also executed other Boko Haram suspects, including Yusuf's father-in-law, outside the police headquarters.
On 2 August, a group of women and children abducted by Boko Haram were found locked in a house in Maiduguri. The military said a total of 700 people were killed in Maiduguri during the clashes. The Red Cross later said that it had taken 780 bodies from the streets of the city to be buried in mass graves.
Potiskum, Yobe State
A gun-battle lasting several hours took place in Potiskum. Boko Haram militants set a police station on fire using fuel-laden motorcycles. The police station burned to the ground, and as a result, a police officer and a fire safety officer were both killed. Police engaged the fighters and wounded several. Police arrested 23 fighters after the battle. According to Nigerian sources, 43 Boko Haram fighters were killed in a shootout near the city on 30 July.
Wudil, Kano State
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