by Jacob Zenn
March 19, 2014
Abubakar Shekau declared that the “Jihad has begun” in July, 2010. His Nigeria-based movement, known to outsiders as “Boko Haram” but among its members as “Jama’atu Ahlisunnah Lia’awati Wal-Jihad,” subsequently emerged as Africa’s most violent insurgent group. Since September 2010, the group has murdered more than 4,000 Christians, government officials, Muslim leaders, and civilians in Nigeria. In 2011, a faction of al-Qaeda-trained Boko Haram members formed “Supporters of the Muslims in the Land of Black Africans,” more commonly known as “Ansaru.” Since 2011, both Boko Haram and Ansaru have risen to prominence among international jihadi groups with alarming speed. Western analysis of the two groups and their ideologies, however, is still lacking. Misrepresentations by the Western media cause confusion as to the identity of different Islamist players, what their ideological objectives are, and what to expect from them in the future.