Anti-Western jihadist group Boko Haram has been terrorizing Nigeria for about a decade, killing thousands of people and jeopardizing Africa’s largest oil industry.
The group, whose name means “Western education is sinful,”
targets schools, mosques, churches, villages, agricultural centres, and military bases. Its aim is to stop Westernization and create an Islamic state ruled by sharia law, a strict religious code of living.
Nigeria’s population is about half Muslim and half Christian. The extremists believe that northern Nigeria has been taken over by “false Muslims.”
Lately, the extremists have been kidnapping girls to use as cooks and sex slaves, The Guardian reports. Parents say that 234 girls are missing from a northeast Nigerian school in Chibok, a town that borders the Sambisa Forest, a known hideout for militants.
This map from Reuters shows the range of Boko Haram’s terror:
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