The Islamist group, Jama’atul Alhul Sunnah Lidda’wati wal Jihad, translated as “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s teachings and jihad”, is commonly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden.” It originated in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno in 2002, but its violence extends into neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger in the Lake Chad Basin. This article provides an overview of the factors that led to the emergence of Boko Haram, its resort to violence, and rapid expansion in the Lake Chad Basin. The article argues that the Boko Haram insurgency is the result of the combination of overlapping and self-complementing factors. The similarity of these factors across Nigeria’s neighboring countries in the Lake Chad Basin has led to the rapid escalation of Boko Haram’s conflict.
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