Inside Story

Boko Haram: A common enemy?

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan calls for unity after mosque attack but can civilians rise up against armed group?

Nigeria’s president says the nation must remain united to confront the armed group Boko Haram.

The president has promised to hunt down those behind a suspected Boko Haram attack on a mosque in the mainly Muslim north.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up, while gunmen opened fire, killing more than a hundred worshippers as they prayed at the Grand Mosque in Kano.

The mosque is next to the palace of Kano’s Emir, Muhammad Sanusi II, Nigeria’s second most senior Muslim cleric. Days earlier he made a call from the same mosque for civilians to take up arms against Boko Haram.

And President Goodluck Jonathan urged Nigerians “…not to despair in this moment of great trial in our nation’s history but to remain united to confront the common enemy.”

Boko Haram has carried out attacks on churches, schools, military bases, police stations and government buildings during a near six-year campaign, as well as targeting what the Muslim sect sees as the “Islamic establishment”.

So can civilians rise up against an enemy the government has been unable to defeat?

Presenter: Mike Hanna


Aliyu Musa, a researcher on war and conflict and a specialist on Boko Haram. 

Clement Nwankwo, the executive director at the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre in Abuja. 

Nii Akuetteh, an Africa policy analyst and researcher, and former executive director of the human rights group, Africa Action.