Mad as Hell

Mad as Hell


Howard Adelman

“Mad as Hell” can stand for uncensored speech, telling it as it supposedly is in a professed unwavering dedication to speaking the truth. It is also often associated with despair and an unwillingness “to take it anymore.” I am mad as hell, but I hope my speech remains sensitive and self-censored (it does not always). Further, instead of leading to cynicism and uncontrolled rage, I hope my anger reignites the fire in my belly and my quest to right the wrongs of the world. Most of all, I trust that the rage will not undermine my dedication to objective analysis and detachment.

I woke up late this morning, very late. I was furious. Not for waking up late. I had slept so long because I was so angry. I am raging. And when I get very emotional, I knock myself out and fall asleep. It is the other side of my sleep condition that allows me to be very productive between 4 and 8 in the morning. It is why my writing is perceived to be objective and cool. This morning I am not cool. I am mad as hell.

First of Four Stories

In the first news item I read, a handsome, young, clean-shaven police officer’s picture of Sgt. Paul Parizek from the Des Moines police department appeared above a story that included the following: “There have been at least 49 officers shot and killed in the line of duty this year, according to preliminary statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that tracks police deaths. In a report released earlier this year, the fund said that more than half the officers killed by that point were shot in ambushes.” (my italics)

Is this true – two dozen police officers shot in ambushes in the U.S. this year? I did recall that eight officers had been murdered in attacks in Baton Rouge and Dallas, but this horrendous event was only a quarter of the number killed up to that date in 2016. But it was the fatal shooting of the two police officers this morning that made me sit up and listen, made me pay attention to the pattern. Why I have been so obtuse is another story.

In the United States, there is a war against police officers. Crime has been down. Murder rates are way down. Policing had become significantly safer in recent years. But there has been a dramatic change in 2016. In Urbandale in Iowa, one officer was shot and killed sitting alone in his patrol car next to Urbandale High School. 20 minutes later, a Des Moines police officer responding to that first shooting was also shot and killed.

Modernity is based on the rule of law. Professional police are a key component in maintaining the rule of law. Police have two prime functions. They try to prevent crime in part by capturing criminals and bringing them before courts of justice. But police have a second function. Whether they are engaged in traffic management or the protection of property by demonstrators and potential rioters, they also protect that property, the system in the West by means of which our needs are satisfied. Police are concerned with the well-being of each individual as well as the protection of society as a whole. Our basic welfare and our lives depend on the ability of these men and women to fulfill their job. An attack on the police that now appears systemic and deliberate undermines the fundamental foundations of our society.

Second Story

This story began with a simmering fire in my kishkas (look it up) by one of the emails I received in response to my blog the day before yesterday. In part it read, “Trump is a talented leader, who calls out the liberal and greedy elite.” [He calls out the greedy, he who is the icon and advertisement for greed!] “Like King David. He likes women like all healthy males including you and me. Most women play to their sexuality through makeup and choice of clothes. Healthy and tasteful. Bill Clinton rapes and abuses women. Hillary destroys women who speak up against her husband’s victims so that this power couple can play the corrupt system.”

It is NOT natural and healthy to grope women. It is not natural and healthy to force yourself upon women. It is sick. And to boast about it makes it sicker. And to claim your money and power entitles you to engage in such behaviour and allows you to get away with it is sickest of all.

Aside from the libels against Bill and Hillary Clinton that have been repeated so many times that Clinton-haters take for granted that they are true, what really kindled my ire was the description of Donald Trump as being a healthy male who admires women, a man who boasts and has possibly a record of groping women and physically assaulting them, a man who admits that he becomes furious if his dinner is not put on the table by his wife when he arrives home.

That was the kindling. The fire in my belly broke out in full flame when this morning I read a story about Jane Doe who was raped by a champion swimmer, Brock Turner. He was only sentenced to six months in prison and was out on parole after three months. The rape victim’s 21-year-old younger sister wrote, “Today I am still sick thinking about it, sick to my stomach every time I am reminded of the incident.” And I felt sick to my stomach as I read about the devastation visited on both these women, the rape victim and her sister. The court records showed that Brock Turner had behaved in the same way that Donald Trump boasted of behaving, initially repeatedly trying to kiss the eventual rape victim against her will greeted with an unquestionable and demonstrated lack of interest.

But what set off the roaring fire in my belly that has made me so nauseous this morning is Judge Aaron Persky’s sentencing statement and the response of the rapist’s father to the rape of a woman who had been left unconscious, naked from the waist down, behind a dumpster. The two sisters suffered at the public humiliation of exposing what happened to the older one in full detail on the internet. The two sisters were both raped over and over again in their minds as they both sat through the court sessions over a six month period. The younger sister addressed Brock Turner directly: “Where has your remorse been? Really, truly: Do you feel guilty because you were sexually assaulting her or because you were caught?”

Male assaults on females are not only despicable and outrageous, they symbolize everything a civilized society must oppose. These assaults have absolutely nothing to do with sex, nothing to do with the pleasurable and passionate intercourse between sexual partners and everything to do with aggression and hatred of women. So this morning a report reads that in Greensburg Indiana, when a woman turned down her boyfriend’s offer of marriage, he shot and killed her. Recall that the two Swedish heroes, Peter Jonsson and Carl-Fredrik Arndt, who had seen Brock Turner attacking the victim and ran after him and tackled him after he fled, testified that the victim was motionless on the ground at the time and could not be woken up, totally contradicting Turner’s insistence that the sex was a product of consent.

But what happens? The two sisters live with the experience for the rest of their lives. In an open and shut case – which very few are – the judge responds favourably to the letters requesting leniency when there has been no demonstrated contrition nor open admission of responsibility. Just lies. And a father who paints his son as the victim! At least Ari Shavit immediately owned up to his responsibility and expressed deep contrition when the stories of his assaults on women became public.

Third Story

As the Republicans face the real and imminent possibility of a Clinton presidency, they have already evidently begun to plot a campaign of obstreperousness, about continuing the campaign to refuse filling Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat, thereby bringing the whole system of justice into disrepute. For the system depends not only on a responsible and empathetic administration of justice, on a conscientious and informed legislative body, but on an independent judiciary at the very highest levels. When ideology dictates how issues of justice are handled, the end of democracy is near. It is not only a break with democratic tradition to refuse to approve an appointment, but an effort to blow up the fundamentals of democracy altogether. When cynicism takes the reins of justice, we are all doomed.

Fourth Story

This tale might seem the most remote from the story of a wanton ambush and killing of police officers, dealing with assaults and rapes of women and sabotaging the whole system of justice when your side is defeated. But in the end, I suggest that it goes to the heart of the matter.

The background of the story is over the use of the Wailing or Western Wall in Jerusalem, not the conflict between Arabs and UNICEF over proprietary rights to religious sites among Jews, Muslims and Christians, but the fight over whether Orthodox Judaism should retain monopoly control over what is now regarded as the holiest site in Judaism – the exposed sector of the old temple wall. In 1967, the government, as a gesture to the religious party allies and an indifference to religious symbolism, had assigned responsibility for administering conduct on the plaza outside the wall to the Orthodox establishment. That establishment maintains a strict separation of sexes and limits even the way women can worship at the wall. Hence the protests by many orthodox women against the patriarchy that controls access. Hence other counter-protests against non-Orthodox Jews who have insisted on a place for egalitarian services at the wall. A political compromise had been forged to build a new section of plaza that would permit that new area of plaza to be used for egalitarian religious services.

The Netanyahu government, under pressure from his Orthodox political allies, in spite of Supreme Court orders, has repeatedly stalled on implementing this compromise. This morning, there was an effort of hundreds of demonstrators led by leading Conservative and Reform rabbis to carry Torah scrolls to the Wall and conduct an egalitarian service. They were resisted by force by Orthodox young men as police stood by and refused to interfere. What followed was unprecedented pandemonium and violence.

Some of the most prominent clergy in the diaspora were shoved, pushed and thrown to the ground. But they persisted. Netanyahu, the same man who refuses to implement the compromise arrived at after years of negotiations, stated that, “unilateral breaches of the status quo in the Kotel harm our attempts to reach a compromise,” even though a compromise had been reached and the issue was its implementation. There was no condemnation of the violence perpetrated by the young orthodox men.

When, because ideology and not negotiation and compromise, lawlessness ensues, when courts are ignored, when police choose to remain passive in the face of overt assaults, when politicians practice the politics of inaction, when supreme courts are blatantly ignored, democracy is at stake.

And it all starts with the mistreatment of women and the resentment of many men and women to allowing a woman to become President of the United States. This resentment goes much deeper than even racist attitudes against Blacks. The story goes back to Bereshit and the myth of the birth of history and time in our world and the story of Adam and Eve.

With the help of Alex Zisman


Boko Haram Atrocities 2012 – August 2014

Boko Haram Atrocities 2012 – August 2014


Howard Adelman

As the 14 February elections approach in Nigeria, Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, a city with a population of at least two million, is once again under siege for the third time in four weeks. The last assault was on 24 January. As in the last two attacks, BH fighters first arrive in the night wearing full-face turbans showing only their eyes, each time from a different direction, but each time on motorcycles and pickup trucks as they shoot their way into the city and shout, “Allahu akbar.” They lock the girls and young women in several houses so they may later choose “wives” from among them instead of kidnapping them all as in April 2013. They also start their campaign of terror by beheading any they consider to be apostates and shoot young men who refuse to join their cause. As you will see from the documentation of the atrocities in 2012, as bad as the situation was then, the targeting of civilian populations has grown enormously since.

Even though BH makes some effort at proselytizing and redistributes some of the food BH fighters have looted, BH is not primarily out to win hearts and minds, just accomplices in its politics of fear and intimidation. Maiduguri is already packed with tens of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled the surrounding countryside overrun by BH primarily in 2014 and its version of terror in the name of justice and faith. The IDPs either live with relatives or are scattered among the 16 IDP camps which bear no resemblance to UNHCR relatively well-ordered camps and, at least, minimally fed refugees.

I expect that BH will be pushed back once again from Maiduguru by the Nigerian Army by soldiers who can only expect execution if they fall into the hands of BH. The armies of Chad and Cameroon have won decisive victories when BH tried to expand in those countries last week. If Chad and Cameroon can do it, why not Nigeria which has the third largest army in Africa and certainly the biggest in West Africa? In 2014, Nigeria ranked 21 among economies in the world and currently beats South Africa for first place in Africa with a GDP of $500 billion.

Whereas Nigerian peacekeeping forces were among the most effective in the world in 1990s, this is no longer true. The operations under ECOWAS authority in Sierra Leone and Liberia that began in 1990 could not be duplicated today. Nigerian forces were almost useless in fighting al-Qaeda-linked forces in Mali in 2013. Yet the army absorbed almost six billion n US dollarsof the 2014 Nigerian budget. The strategy of starving the army by tolerating and even enhancing corruption to prevent a military coup has backfired. The army suffers from a lack of and poorly maintained equipment, low operational readiness, inadequate training, and low military morale, all made worse by poor salaries and conditions for the regular grunts, quite aside from the ethnic divisions and regional loyalties that plague Nigeria’s constant efforts to maintain an army loyal to the federal government.

How does one explain the military deterioration in Nigeria? The simple answer is corruption. The ships of its navy and the aircraft of its air force are, for the most part, inoperative. Most of their ground troops have little capacity to launch offensive operations, though that has significantly improved in the last 20 months. This also explains the decline in American cooperation with the Nigerian armed forces. On the other hand, it is very difficult to deal with an enemy that can launch attacks from many locations across a very large country, for the attacks are not limited to the three northern states. One noticeable pattern after 2012 was the increasing capability of the police and the military to bring the war back to Boko Haram. There have been startling successes in one area – far fewer police stations and army barracks have been attacked – but more civilians have been targeted and territory has been captured and held.

It is not clear whether the reason lay in BH strategy or is to found in far greater intimidation and exclusive targeting of civilians with the clear intent of holding and capturing villages and towns in Borno State. Thus, although military attacks against the police initially escalated in 2012, by 2014 they had fallen off drastically. The police and security forces began aggressively to fight and take the war into BH enclaves and so-called safe houses. Select political leaders were assassinated by BH, but fewer of them and hardly any in 2013 and 2014. Increased numbers of churches continued to be attacked in 2012, but these attacks fell off as BH focused its militancy against whole villages and used suicide bombers and explosives to cause many more casualties.

Far fewer Muslim clerics are now being killed, and BH explicitly announced that it had not been responsible for the attack on the mosque in Kano in June of 2012. The attacks on churches had a double effect, not only killing parishioners of what BH regards as an apostate faith, but provoking mob retaliatory attacks in several cases against Muslim bystanders, thereby deepening the rift between Muslims and Christians even further. But these types of attacks decreased considerably by 2014. Police stations were always attacked in conjunction with an effort to rob a bank, but BH seems to have acquired more sophisticated military equipment and explosives from the spate of attacks on the police and the military in 2012 so that by mid-July they could concentrate on attacking and capturing villages in Borno State. Attacks on civilians continued, primarily against targets seen to be bringing western values into northern Nigeria – pubs, construction sites, schools and even the newspaper, The Day in April 2012. 2                                                                                                                                                                                  Though the military counter-attacks against BH have significantly improved, the prognosis remains depressing as the military failed to capture a few key bases that BH had captured. The advance of BH over the last three years began with the coordinated 2012 attack in Kano against 8 different security facilities (the regional police headquarters, 2 police stations, local headquarters of state security, home of a police official, state police command headquarters), even though the strength of BH is also its greatest weakness. For BH is very decentralized and lacks a forceful unified command structure. However, BH has demonstrated that it is very capable of coordinated assaults. In 2014, it has also shown that it can concentrate sufficient forces to capture towns and villages, especially in Borno State with a highly increased lethality of civilians. Since 2012, the Nigerian army, police and security forces made a concerted effort to take the battle into the warrens where BH murderers and bombers take refuge in the cities. However, the Nigerian security forces have been unable to launch a consistent assault to retake territory captured by BH.

There has been a countervailing interpretation that the primary issue is not military but political. The political issue is not the gain in popular support for BH – which has undoubtedly lost ground. The growing strength and horror of BH has become a prime election issue in this election year in 2015 for a number of very different reasons, quite aside from the likelihood that the recent increase in the number of attacks, their main targets and heightened lethality seem to indicate that disrupting the election and delegitimizing the results may be the main strategy in the recent pattern of BH attacks.

Note the following:

  • Of the 174 million population (Lagos alone has an estimated population of 25 million), and the estimated expected vote of over 40 million, of the 5.6 million population in the three northeastern states, 1.5 million eligible voters reside in Borno, Yobe and Adanowa
  • Of those,18% have been displaced, and Nigerian law requires that voters must cast their ballots in their home constituencies
  • Thus, even though the Independent National Election Commission insists that the vote will go ahead in the northeast as planned, and even assuming that they are true to their word in spite of the increasing rate of BH assaults, to get elected, a presidential candidate must win 25% of the votes in at least two-thirds (12) states to be declared a winner;
  • This suggests that the violence is intended to delegitimize the election, assuming Goodluck Jonathan can win more votes than his rival, Muhammadu Buhani;
  • Further, if the election is contested afterwards over a protracted period, BH will be the only winner.

Below, please find the tables of atrocities for 2012, 2013 and until the end of July 2014. I am grateful to Ioannis Mantzikos, a PhD candidate at the University of Free State in South Africa, who compiled the original uncategorized list and published the compilation in the December issue of Perspectives on Terrorism Volume 8, Issue 6. The categorization and interpretation of trends is solely my responsibility.




22 June Kano Mosque – aborted 4 arrested
2 July Maiduguri Mosque under construction Construction workers killed 9

POLITICAL TARGETS: attacks against politicians, traditional leaders and civil servants

7 Feb. Kaduna Hon. Auwalu Ali Tafoki, former Chairman of the Kaduna South Local Area Bomb discovered and dismantled
9 March Gombe State Traditional ruler Shot 1
12 April Abuja Threat by BH to overthrow government in 3 months U.S. State Department travel alert
21 June U.S. Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar

Adam Kambar, & Khalid al-Barnawi

Declared specially designated global terrorists
Habib Bama (Mamman) Shot when arrested 1
3 August Potiskum Muslim traditional leader Escapes suicide bomber 0

Military and Police Targets

2012 Dead
17 Jan. Maiduguri Military checkpoint Assault 2 soldiers + 2 BH
Army outpost 2
Borno State BH hideout 6 arrested
20 Jan. Kano 8 government security buildings 5 suicide bomber; 20 explosions ???
24 Jan Kano Response to above by JTF 158 arrests 10 cars of explosives 300 IEDs
28 Jan Maiduguri 11 BH
15 Feb Koton-Karle, Kogi State Prison attack by 20 gunmen 119 freed inmates 14
3 March In prison Tiemkenfa Francis Osvwo fumigation 1 BH
7 March Ashaka, Gombe State Police station 7
10 March Bulabilin Ngaura, Borno Police station Gunmen 1
Maidiguri Repelled assault 11 arrested 1 BH
12 March Military patrol Gunmen 5
21 March Tudun Wala 100 km from Abuja Divisional Police Office Explosives failed
31 March Kogi Raid of bomb factory shootout 10
25 April Kano State Raid on bomb factory
30 April Taraba State Senior Police official convoy – survived Suicide bomber 11
4 May Borno State Prison 2 guards
6 May Kano Shootout 4 BH
11 May Kano Suleiman Mohammed + wife + 5 kids Arrest of BH Kano head
12 May Borno State Police station Burned 2 police
13 May Kano Shootout 6 officers
19 May Jos BH enclave destroyed ???
22 May Abuja Security officials foil police station & radio
5 June Kano Abubakar Saleh Ningi, former department chief MC 3 incl. driver & bodyguard
5 -6 June Maiduguri JTF operation 16 BH
8 June Borno State JTF operation Car with explosives 4 + 7
23 June Kano BH hideout Shootout 4 BH
24 June Yobe Prison 40 inmates freed 2 BH
26 June Wukari, Taraba State Regional police headquarters Gunmen 3 police
26-27 June Kano Dalo police division 30 BH with guns 10 BH; I police
30 June Damaturu, Yobe Pre-emptive offensive by police 10 BH       1 police
30 July Sokoto Two police stations Suicide bomber 2
19 Aug. Damagun, Yobe Police station Blown up ???


22 Jan. Tafawa Balewa Bank – foiled
2 March Trader and tailor Knife attack 2
8 March Birnin Kebbi

BH denies it attacked

Italian and British engineer kidnapped 2
21 March 100 km from Abuja Bank – foiled 2 arrested 9 BH
30 March Maiduguri Police station + bank 4
7 Nov. Benishek outside Maiduguri Chinese construction workers attack 2


2012 Dead Inj.
Gombe State Church Parishioners Assault 3-6
6 Jan Yola Church Parishioners Assault 8
26 Feb Jos, Plateau State Church Parishioners Suicide bomber 6
11 March Jos Church Parishioners Suicide bomber 3
Reprisal attacks 10
8 April Kaduna Churh Easter parishioners Explosives 38
3 June Yelwa, Bauchi State Church Parishioners Suicide bomber 12
10 June Jos Church Suicide bomber 0 41
bystanders Retaliation Mob 2
Biu 5 gunmen 1 3
17 June Zaire & Kaduna

Kaduna State

3 churches Car bombs
19 Aug. Damagun, Yobe Church building Blown up ???
23 Sept. Bauchi Church Female worshipper Suicide bomber 1
28 Oct. Kaduna Church parishioners Suicide bomber 10 145

Note that in 2012, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) ran an ad campaign on 100 buses in New York publicizing the savagery of BH and the targeting of Christians specifically. “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support the Nigerian Christians. Defeat jihad.” Mostly because of the phrasing, the ads were criticized as “anti-Muslim” “hate” ads.


4 Jan. Dalla, Maiduguri Teacher & son Home 2 + 2BH
10 Jan Damaturu, Yobe State Beergarden 8
13 Jan Yola, Adamawa State Pub 2 + 1
Gombe, Gombe State Pub 2 + 1
1 Feb. Maiduguri 30 so-called informers Targeted 7
2 March 4:mother son + 2
4 April Maiduguri Market Gunmen 7
26 April Abuja Off ices of newspaper The Day Suicide attack 4
Kaduna Housing complex with Damugun offices Car bomb
25 June Baluchi Cluster of bars IED Explosive 0 + 9
4 July Abuja Shopping mall explosion 0
19 Aug. Damagun, Yobe School Blown up
16 Sept. Bauchi Ludo game players Shot 6 + 9
18 Oct Potiskum Guns + bomb 23

2013 Charts of Boko Haram atrocities

Military and Police Targets

15 March Gwoza Prison – 170 inmates freed assault 1 civilian
22 March Ganye, Adamawa State Jail, police stn. & bank 127 inmates freed assault 25
11 April Babban Gida, Yobe State Police station shootout 4 police       5 BH
12-16 Baga JTF operation vs BH firefight 187
7 May Bama Security forces –       105 inmates freed assault 55
13 May Borno & Yobe “massive” troop deployment State of emergency Phone signals shut
11 Sept. Ga’anda Village, Adamawa State Police stations Rocket grenades 2 police + 1
24 Oct. Damaturu, Yobe Military barracks and police facilities assault 21 in total 21-70 BH
23 Nov. Gwoza BH hideouts N. military 40 BH
2 Dec. Maiduguru Air force base, military barracks 200 gunmen ???



15 March Kano Senior judicial figure
3 May Maiduguri Ali Monguno, former Nigerian oil minister kidnap



13 Nov Nguetchéwé, Cameroon French Catholic priest kidnap Dead Inj.



22-24 Jan. Maiduguri Many ???
8 Feb. Kano 2 polio clinics gunmen 10 workers
10 Feb. Potiskum, Yobe doctors North Korean assassinys 3
16 Feb Jama’are Construction workers kidnap 7
19 Feb. Cameroon French family of 7 kidnap Video 25 February
5 March Video beheading Alleged informant beheading 1
18 March Kano Bus station Suicide bomber 41
17 June Damaturu Student dormitory attack 7 students 2 teachers
6 July Mamudo, Yobe Secondary school dormitories set on fire attack 41 students 1 teacher
31 Aug. Yaguwa Village, Damboa, Borno BH hideout by nomadic herders in revenge attack 12 nomads + original 2
17 Sept. Benisheik, Borno Town attack 142
29 Sept. Gujba, Yobe school dorm College of Agriculture attack 40 students
4 Nov. Bama, Borno 300 homes burned assault 27
23 Nov. Sandiya Village 85km from Maiduguru Some homes burned assault 12


27 July Dawashe near Baga, Borno Fishers & traders Reprisal attack 20 +

2014 Boko Haram Atrocities

Military and Police Targets

14 March Maiduguru Giwa Military barracks & state security hdqt. 200 BH assault fails
8 July Damboa Military base N. army assault BH counterattack 15 soldiers
24 July Cameroon military Cross-border raid 2 soldiers



23 April Blabili, Borno State politicians ambush 2
25 July Garabula, Borno Alhaji Ibrahim Dawi District leader 13
27 July Kolofata, Cameroon Wife of V-Pres. kidnap 3



30 July Kwajaffa, Tashan Alade 5 churches



26 Jan. Borno & Adamawa 2 markets assaults 78
11 Feb. Kanduga Burn homes assault 23
15 Feb. Northeastern Nigeria dozens
26 Feb. Buni Yadi Federal college assault 29
14 April Abuja Bus station Suicide bomber 75 +
17 April BH mass weddings on 29 April School dorm kidnap 276 girls
20 April Yana Government school fire 5-year-old
5 May BH video Girls kidnapped To be sold
20 May Jos market Car bombs 118 + 56
1 June Mubi Football stadium bomb 40
14 June Borno 4 villages assault 500
17 June Damaturu Football viewing centre World Cup bomb 21
24 June Borno Systematic abductions Kidnap 60 women 30
3 July Konduga, Borno bomb 5
4 July Maiduguri-Mafa-Dikwa Road motorway ambush 15
6 July Krenuwa Village, border Cameroon Dressed in military uniforms assault 7
11 July Maidugurio Damboa Madafuma Biu Rd Main bridge destroyed
14 July Dille Village Torch houses & 3 churches assault 26
Madafuma Village, Biu, Borno capture assault 9
15 July Damboa, Borno Sambon Gari Village assault 27
17 July Gambou Ngala, Borno Bridge to Cameroon Blown up
18 July Damboa, Borno Burn homes 80
23 July Kaduna Suicide bombers 82
29 July Potiskum 2 bombs Suicide bombers 55


27 July Dawashe near Baga, Borno Fishers & traders Reprisal attack 20 +
16 July Gombi, Adamawa German Kidnap

Boko Haram Terrorism: 2003-2011

Boko Haram Terrorism: 2003-2011


Howard Adelman

Look at the news from Nigeria yesterday. One person was killed and 18 injured by a female suicide bomber at a campaign rally for Goodluck Jonathan on Monday near a stadium in the northern city of Gombe. This analysis of Boko Haram violence covers the so-called early one year of violence (December 2003-October 2004), the second stage of non-violence between 2005-mid-2009, the turning point in the summer of 2009 when 800 were killed, the fourth stage in the development of the lethal character of Boko Haram from mid-2009 to mid-2010 when Boko Haram consolidated, trained and developed a more systematic strategy. The bulk of the material covers the fifth phase in the development of Boko Haram from mid-2010 to the end of 2011. Tomorrow I will provide an analysis of Boko Haram violence for 2012-2014.

Stage 1   2002- October 2004 Founding until death of Mohammed Yusuf

Priority violence for recruitment and action vs just teaching; violence incidental

Stage 2 November 2004 until mid-2009 period of non-violence

Stage 3   Turning point in the summer of 2009 when Yusuf killed in police custody and 800 killed in subsequent violence

Stage 4   Summer 2009-summer 2010: consolidation and strategizing

Stage 5   August 2010 to December 2011

  • Internationalization of conflict with attack on UN compound in Abuja & links with al-Qaeda
  • More sophisticated use of more powerful explosives
  • Increasingly more direct attacks on soldiers and not just police
  • Increasing number of attacks on military targets with more sophisticated coordination over this period
  • Attacks on banks to fund purchase of more sophisticated explosives & arms and on businessmen who do not pay into their protection racket; note that the attacks on banks were linked with simultaneous attacks on police stations to foil any attempt to prevent the robberies; I have included such attacks under Financial
  • Individual attacks on political figures average 1 per month
  • Individual attacks on moderate Muslim clerics who denounce BH; average 1 per 2 months
  • A primary method of assassinating individuals is drive-by shootings from a motorcycle which becomes a rite-of-passage for new recruits
  • Near the end of this period, the attacks on civilian targets increase in frequency
  • Though attacks on Christians begin in January 2011, they really only get up to speed in the latter part of the year, culminating in attacks on churches throughout Nigeria on Christmas Day in 2011

The most significant attack is probably the one on 26 August 2011 when the UN compound in Abuja was attacked by an explosive-laden Honda sport vehicle driven at high speed through the exit gates of the compound by 27-year-old Mohammed Abdul Barra in which an estimated 200 were killed (Nigeria government declared 23 died) and hundreds more injured (the Nigerian government declared 80 injured). The attack, masterminded by Mamman Nur (an alias used by Osama bin Laden’s bomb maker), an al-Qaeda-linked member of Boko Haram, was rationalized because the UN was labelled as the “forum of all global evil” and a partner “in the oppression of believers.” This attack also marked an escalation both in the sophistication of the explosives used, the planning of the attack and the internationalization of the conflict. Prior to that date, the only attack on a non-Nigerian target had been the 2 May 2011 bombing in Bwari of the Peace Corps offices in which 3 were killed.

There was one slim hope of a turning point. Babakura Alhaji Fugu, the son of late Alhaji Baba Fugu, the father-in-law to Mohammed Yussuf, founder of Boko Haram, had entered into discussions of a possible peace with former Nigerian President Oluṣẹgun Obasanjo. Two days later, and just before an appearance on Sahara TV, on 17 September 2011, Fugu was assassinated by Boko Haram.

Until the end of 2011, media had not been targeted, with the exception of the 16 October 2011 assassination of the reporter Zakariyya Isa in front of his house, but the evidence suggests that he was not murdered because he was a reporter but because he was believed to be passing information that he gathered on Boko Haram to the Nigerian security services. Finally, at the end of December 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, Niger and the Plateau States. (I believed I made a typo the day before yesterday and put in 2013.) He also closed the borders to Chad and Niger. Finally, he authorized his security officials to create a special counter-terrorism unit to fight Boko Haram.

I am grateful to Perspectives on Terrorism 8:6 for compiling the collection of attacks, but I take full responsibility for the classification used below and the trend interpretation I have offered. In doing so, I use several short forms which I believe are obvious. For example, BH refers to Boko Haram members killed and not Boko Haram in general. MC refers to drive-by killings from a motorcycle. Most politicians and religious leaders were murdered in front of their own homes. One important caution: some killings blamed on Boko Haram may be by political opponents or other agents. At the same time, some assassinations could either be based on rumour or on learning, or believing one had learned, that one person was a double agent. For example, on 3 November 2011, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga (alias: Usman al-Zawahiri), a member of Boko Haram, was slain. Konduga claimed to have been working in Borno for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).a2

[I do not know how to copy the charts so if you want the information in proper chart form, write


24-31 Dec. 2003 Kanamma & Geldam, Yobo State 200 frontal ???
January 2004 Damboa Police Station
June 2004 Damaturu, capital of Yobe State Prison break 4 BH
23 Sept. 2004 Gwoza & Bama Police stations

Police patrols

4 police

2 civilians

24 attackers

10 October 2004 Kala Balge, Lake Chad Police convoy 15 officers

30 JUNE 2009 TO DECEMBER 2011


2009 Killed Injured
26 July Maiduguri BH Guns 17 BH
9 July Maiduguri




22 BH

2 police

50 civilians

3 July 800 deaths incl.

28 police

5 wardens

5 Sept. MC 1 police
7 Sept. Baluchi jail 100 BH

Freed +

600 others

23 Oct. aborted Police Station Fire 1 BH
13 Nov. Bashir Mohammed MC 1 soldier
24 Nov. Ramat Mohammat

Salisu Jibrin



1 police

1 soldier

4 Dec. Abuja BH-army clash 2 BH

3 civilians

29 Dec. Police patrol 7-8 police
3 Jan Corporal James MC 1 police
9 Jan. Church guard Amos Tangurda MC 1 police
23 Jan. Borno MC 1 soldier
26 Jan. Bauchi MC 1 police
27 Jan. Gasua Zamfara Police MC
2 Feb. Police Dep. Super. gunfight 1 six-year-old
20 Feb. Financier gunfight 5 BH
24 Feb. Maiduguri Police inspector MC 1 police
28 Feb. Home invasion Mustapha Sandamu gun 1 police

1 civilian

26 March Soldier on patrol MC 1 soldier 16 civ.
15 April Maiduguri Soldiers MC 2 soldiers

2 civilians

16 April Elis Dawa, police insp. Gun duel 1 police
30 April Prison warder 1 warder
5 May Maiduguri Prison warders 2 warders
17 May Police mosque guard MC 1 police
18 May Maiduguri Police station Assault 10 police
27 May Damboa Borno Police station

Soldiers barracks


70 BH

4 police
30 May Bauchi Military beer garden 13 soldiers 33
1 Sept. Biu Operation Tsaro

Military rampage

2 BH

Military officer

3 civilians

13 Sept. Maiduguri Ambush following BH

Arrests of 15 BH

4 soldiers
16 Oct. Mopol Base 15 vehicles destroyed

Base burned

Assault 1 police

3 BH

25 Oct. Damaturu, Yobe 1 police
4 Nov. Maiduguri Military base many
15 Nov. JTF firefight with BH 2 soldiers

1 child

21 Nov. JTF firefight with BH 3 soldiers

3 BH

26-27 Nov. Bomb attacks 4 police
13 Dec. Soldiers crossfire 10 civilians
17 Dec. Maiduguri


Bomber’s bomb



4 BH 3 police

19 Dec. Kano,





3 police

3 BH

21 Dec. Military convoy bomber 53 killed (BH,

Soldiers, police,


23 Dec. Maiduguri 6 simultaneous attacks 10,000 IDPs

Scores killed

24 Dec. Port Harcourt Military barracks

Bouganvillea Hotel

Shell oil facility

26 Dec. Kano Air Force School Assault 4 air force

2 BH

30 Dec. Maiduguri Military check point Assault 4 passer-bys

POLITICAL TARGETS: attacks against politicians, traditional leaders and civil servants

2010 How No.
21 Sept. Maiduguri Local chief MC 1
6 Oct. Maiduguri Awana Ali Ngala VP All Nigerian Peoples Party 1
20 Oct. Kashim Bukar Police Inspector Shot 1
29 Dec. Maiduguri 8
28 Jan. Modu Fannami Godio Gubernatorial opposition candidate All Nigeria Peoples Party MC 1
27 March Gwange Alhaji Fannami Gana Makanike Ward 2 chair ANPP MC 1
29 March Maiduguri ANPP election rally Foiled
12 May Abba Anas bin ‘Umar

Modu Fannami Godio

17 Sept. Babakura Alhaji Fugu Brother-in-law of Yusuf By BH
15 Oct. Maiduguri Ali Banga Leader Borno State Vigilante Assoc. MC 1
16 Oct. Zakariyya Isa Reporter (informer?) MC 1
16 Oct. Modu Bintube Borno State House rep. MC 1
3 Nov. Sanda Umar Konduga BH MC 1
15 Nov. Maiduguri State Gov. Shettima MC 1


9 Oct. Outside home Sheik Bashir Mustapha

Bashir Kasara

Muslim scholar

Eminent Wahabi personage





19 Nov. Mosque during Juam‘at prayer MC 3
12 March Outside home Ahmad Abdullahi Bolori Cleric vs violence MC 1


11 May Outside home Sheik Goni Tijjani

Mallam Alhaji Abur

Cleric critical of BH MC 1


6 June Outside home Ibrahim Birkuti Cleric critical of BH MC 1
4 Sept. Outside home Malam Dal Cleric critical of BH MC 1
29 Oct. Outside home Sheikh Ali Jana’a Cleric critical of BH MC 1


19 Jan. Deeper Life Christian Church Pastor & 3 neighbours MC 4
7 June Maduguri Church and 2 police posts bomb 14
4 Nov, churches bombs 63
25 Dec. Nigeria churches bombs Very many


2010 Dead Injured
10 Oct. Traditional Islamic school beheaded 10-yr.-old
24 Dec. Abuja



9 bombs



29 Dec. Abuja Teaching Hospital 1 police

2 civilians

29 Dec. Abuja RelaxationCentre bomb 8
30 Jan. Maiduguri Police guarding dam firefight 2 BH
7 March Dogo Nachawa Villages – Zot & Tatsat Frontal assault 200
4 April Babaji & Sadi Babaji prevented killing of police Revenge MC 2 7 children
8 April Yahaya Premature explosion bomb bomber
9 April Maiduguri Unguwar Doki polling station

Ind. Nat’l Electoral polling tn.




21 April Kaduna 1 3 bombers
22 April Kaduna Bomb-making factory
2. May Bwari Peace corps offices bomb 3
1 June Kaduna Gonin Gora Market bomb foiled
26 Aug. Abuja UN compound Car bomb 200 (?) hundreds
6 Oct Mob 2 BH
10 Oct. bomb 1
3 Dec. Maiduguri 2
6 Dec Kaduna Block of shops & apartments bomb 8
28 Dec. Mubi beer parlour 15


13 Feb.
botched 1 BH
30 April trader MC 1
12 Sept. Misau Bauchi State bank assault 4 police

3 civilians

2 Oct. 3 traders MC 3
10 Oct. Police guarding bank 1
4 Dec. Bauchi state 2 banks + 2 police stns, 3

Tomorrow 2012-2014