Boko Haram , Nigerian Islamic fundamentalist militia. It arose (c. 2002) in Maidurguri, NE Nigeria, and has since spread across the nation's north, where Muslims are the majority and poverty is greatest. Frustration with government neglect and corruption has contributed to the influence of the group, which is loosely modelled on the Taliban. Boko Haram mounted its first attack in 2004, and since then the group has been responsible for thousands of deaths. The sect demands the adoption of sharia, and has killed many Christians in church bombings as well as more moderate Muslims. In 2011 a UN building in Abuja was struck by a suicide bomber from the group. After Boko Haram's leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed by Nigerian security forces in 2009, the group appeared to fragment; some of the splinter groups may have formed alliances with Al Qaeda. In 2010 Abubakar Shekau claimed leadership of the group.
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Publication information: Article title: Boko Haram. Encyclopedia title: The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. © 2012 The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia © 2012, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. Used with the permission of Columbia University Press. All Rights Reserved. Publisher: The Columbia University Press. Place of publication: Not available. Publication year: 2013.
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