By Jacob Zenn

In July 2014, Cameroon’s Defense Ministry announced that Boko Haram[1] was a growing threat in the Lake Chad region and now has approximately 15,000 to 20,000 members.[2] A Nigerian journalist with longstanding contacts with Boko Haram, however, says that Boko Haram has up to 50,000 members.[3] Even the lower estimate of the two would mean Boko Haram has similar manpower as militant groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.[4] The higher estimate may be correct if “members” include not only armed militants but also individuals who cooperate with Boko Haram, whether intentionally or coerced. Using this inclusive definition of “members,” two of Boko Haram’s newest recruitment profiles are of forcible conscripts, especially teenage boys and girls, and financiers, who are primarily businessmen, arms traffickers, and kidnappers in Cameroon.

This article reviews Boko Haram’s recruitment from the time its leader, Abubakar Shekau, declared jihad against Nigeria and the United States in 2010 until the present. It then discusses the role of forcible conscripts and financiers in Boko Haram operations in 2014. The article finds that the strategic shift of Boko Haram’s armed militants to seize and hold local government areas (LGAs) in its self-described caliphate in northeastern Nigeria explains why it increasingly requires forcible recruits and financiers in its membership network.[5]

Ideology, Economic Vulnerability, and Infiltration
After Nigerian security forces killed Boko Haram founder Muhammad Yusuf in clashes with his followers in July 2009, Yusuf’s deputy, Shekau, emerged as his successor.[6] Shekau’s loyalists included Yusuf’s disciples who found inspiration in al-Qa`ida’s style of militancy and Yusuf’s and Shekau’s call for a “pure” Islamic state in Nigeria. Boko Haram also attracted criminals that members recruited in prison and were freed in rescue operations, including the first attack under Shekau on Bauchi prison in September 2010.[7]

Boko Haram’s operations in late 2010 required minimal training, such as drive-by assassinations of local politicians and religious leaders, who were “guilty” of mixing Islam with “infidel” notions of democracy, secularism and Western education. Boko Haram also paid small fees to fruit sellers and al-majiri[8] boys to scout on security forces and burn down churches and schools.[9] However, when Boko Haram began carrying out sophisticated bombings, such as on churches on Christmas Day in 2010 and the Federal Police Headquarters and UN Building in 2011, and kidnapping foreigners in 2012, it relied on Nigerians who received funding or training from abroad with al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and who were part of Ansaru’s[10] shura (leadership council).[11]

Ansaru, in particular, acquired inside information to carry out key attacks, including the ambush of Nigerian troops in Kogi before they deployed to Mali in January 2013, the rescue of several dozen Boko Haram members from the Special Anti-robbery Squad prison in Abuja in November 2012, and kidnappings of foreign engineers in northwest Nigeria in 2012.[12] Boko Haram similarly has cooperated with several rogue customs officers in northeastern Nigeria, who turn a blind eye to cross-border arms trafficking because they (or their families) are threatened or bribed by Boko Haram, or sympathize with its ideology.[13]

Forcible Conscripts: Chibok as a Turning Point
The kidnapping of more than 250 girls, mostly Christians, in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria on April 14, 2014, brought international attention to Boko Haram’s forcible recruitment. Yet that incident was neither the first nor last time Boko Haram employed the tactic. Boko Haram militants and their wives began kidnapping young girls in early 2013 to use as assets to trade in prisoner exchanges, use as decoys to lure troops into ambushes, and serve as porters and cooks.[14] Two days before the Chibok kidnapping, on April 12, 2014, Boko Haram took several girls from a college in Dikwa, Borno State. In addition, on April 19, May 5, and June 10, 2014, the militants took more than 40 girls from towns near Chibok, and on October 20, 2014, took 45 more girls from Wagga, Adamawa State and “married” the young ones after the Nigerian government reported an agreement with Boko Haram on releasing the Chibok schoolgirls, which did not materialize.[15] Internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled Borno estimate that Boko Haram may have abducted between 500 and 2,000 women since 2013, but most incidents go unreported.[16]

Only after the Chibok kidnapping did Boko Haram start using women in operations, including the wives of slain or arrested militants and beggars who were offered a “few naira notes.”[17] During the month of Ramadan in June 2014, there were six female suicide bombers, all under 16-years-old, who carried out four attacks at universities and fuel stations in Kano, a military barracks in Gombe, and a fuel station in Lagos. In addition, one 10-year-old girl was detected with a suicide vest in Katsina in July 2014.[18]

The explosives were placed under the girls’ hijabs or clothing and detonated remotely, possibly without them knowing.[19] There was media speculation that they were from Chibok. However, it appears more likely they were among the dozens of girls recruited by Boko Haram’s “female wing” in Kano, which was led by Hafsat Bako. She is the widow of a deceased Boko Haram commander and was based in Borno’s Sambisa Forest, where some of the Chibok girls were initially held, and her arrest in June 2014 coincided with the end of the series of female suicide bombings.[20] Her role in the female wing and in Sambisa Forest therefore suggests an operational link between the kidnapping in Chibok and the deployment of the female suicide bombers, even though the schoolgirls were likely not the bombers.

Legitimizing the Chibok Kidnapping via Historical Manipulation and ISIL
The future of many of the schoolgirls kidnapped in Chibok and other towns in northeastern Nigeria is likely as “wives” of militants (“slaves” in Shekau’s own words). As “wives,” their value to Boko Haram is greater than as bartering chips in an increasingly improbable deal with the Nigerian government because of Boko Haram’s dispersal of the girls into multiple groups and their inability to reconvene all, or even half, of the girls if a deal were reached.[21] Even if Boko Haram returned 90% of the Chibok schoolgirls, the militants would still have more than 20 girls from Chibok and hundreds of other girls to leverage in future negotiations or keep enslaved. In a potential deal, the militants would also likely demand territorial concessions from the Nigerian government that would guarantee Boko Haram sovereignty in dozens of LGAs in northeastern Nigeria under its control. Shekau, who praised the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a July 2014 video statement, declared these LGAs as “part” of an Islamic State in a separate video statement released in October 2014.[22] The video featured ISIL’s rayat ul-uqab flag behind Shekau and played ISIL’s signature nasheed, My Umma, Dawn Has Arrived, as background music while Shekau made the declaration, signaling that Boko Haram sees its caliphate as part of al-Baghdadi’s.[23]

Boko Haram will legitimize the “slavery” of the Chibok schoolgirls based on a textual interpretation of the Qur’an and the support the kidnapping received from ISIL as well as al-Shabab.[24] ISIL cited the “Nigerian mujahidin” in the October 2014 edition of its magazine Dabiq as precedent for ISIL’s own kidnapping of several hundred non-Muslim Yazidi women in northern Iraq, who ISIL forced to become “sex slaves” of militants.[25] Boko Haram therefore may not be carrying out kidnappings of women in 2014 for the same purposes it kidnapped women in 2012 and 2013.[26] Rather, Boko Haram, like ISIL, may be seeking to revive practices that were virtually non-existent since the end of the last caliphate era in Nigeria (and Iraq and the Levant) in the early 20th century. Such practices include kidnapping mostly non-Muslim girls to “contribute their children to the next generation” of the caliphate and hadd punishments, such as beheading, stoning, whipping, and hand-cutting of “criminals,” which Boko Haram carries out in LGAs under its control.[27]

Forcible Recruitment of Teenage Boys
Since the Chibok kidnapping in April 2014, Boko Haram has increasingly kidnapped teenage boys in northeastern Nigeria and “re-educated” them at Qur’anic schools that are often in Cameroon.[28] Signposts in Arabic language that Boko Haram erected in Cameroonian border towns with ISIL’s rayat al-uqab insignia on them say, “It is a crime and treason not to join jihad.”[29] This is likely Boko Haram’s justification for the forcible conscription and killing of boys (and girls) who refuse.

The militants use untrained boys to acquire intelligence and carry out the first wave of attacks on villages or barracks. When they gain experience, they can be part of the second wave designed to overwhelm the security forces after the first wave weakens their positions and morale.[30] Boys may also be given a quota of how many security officers or “high value targets” they must attack, and risk death at the hands of their commanders if they fail or show “cowardice.”[31]

Boko Haram also appears to be focusing on Cameroon for its non-forcible recruitment of men, possibly because the destruction of villages in Nigeria has alienated youths and caused them to flee to IDP camps outside of Borno or join the anti-Boko Haram Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) vigilante group. In Cameroon, which until 2014 was spared from large-scale attacks, locals often consider Boko Haram “just another religious group” or “the boys.”[32] According to Cameroonian police, there have been more than 500 new recruits in villages along the border with Nigeria, some of whom were “drugged or manipulated” in training camps.[33] They provide Boko Haram with the ability to use Cameroon as a rear base for attacking Nigeria, to raise money through kidnapping foreigners, and to traffic weapons into Nigeria from Cameroonian border towns.

Financiers, Arms Traffickers and Kidnappings in Cameroon
When Boko Haram was an above ground movement before 2009, it had wealthy members who served as intermediaries between financial sponsors, such as local government officials or wealthy Salafists abroad, and Muhammad Yusuf.[34] Now officials have distanced themselves from Boko Haram, while mainstream Salafist and al-Qa`ida funding decreased as a result of Boko Haram’s massacres, the break-up of Ansaru’s shura in Kaduna in 2012, and the French-led military intervention in northern Mali in 2013, which disrupted the AQIM supply line to Boko Haram.[35] However, Boko Haram has made inroads with new financiers, who are from Borno and bordering areas of Cameroon’s Extreme North Region and are often ethnic Kanuris like Yusuf, Shekau and most Boko Haram members. These financiers provide Boko Haram with weapons and a route to negotiation with the Cameroonian government in kidnapping-for-ransom operations.[36]

One Cameroonian financier, Alhaji Abdalla, is a vehicle exporter based in Amchide whose business operations extend to Qatar (the vehicles likely move from Doha to other ports in Asia).[37] He served as a key negotiator for Boko Haram in talks with the Cameroonian government for the release of the French Moulin-Fournier family of seven, which was kidnapped by Boko Haram (likely in coordination with Ansaru) in Waza (a town 16 miles east of Amchide) in February 2013.[38] The government paid a $3.14 million ransom and released Boko Haram prisoners in April 2013 in exchange for the family.[39]

In July 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped from Kolofata (a town three miles from Amchide) the town’s lamido (local ruler) and his family and the wife of Cameroon Deputy Prime Minister Amadou Ali, who represented the Cameroon side in negotiations for the Moulin-Fourniers and ran programs to prevent recruitment of Cameroonian youths to Boko Haram (Amadou Ali was outside of Kolofata so he avoided being kidnapped).[40] The kidnapping was reportedly motivated in part by Cameroon’s failure to pay the full ransom for the Moulin-Fourniers.[41]

In October 2014, however, Boko Haram released the wife of Amadou Ali and the lamido and his family, along with 10 Chinese engineers who were kidnapped in April 2014 from Waza, after the Cameroonian government paid approximately $600,000 in ransom to cover the remaining payment for the Moulin-Fourniers.[42] In addition, Cameroon released 30 prisoners, including some who were imprisoned in Maroua in July 2014 after being caught stockpiling weapons in the town of Kousseri on Cameroon’s border with Chad.[43] Others released from prison included a leading Boko Haram recruiter, the mastermind of a kidnapping of two Italian priests and a Canadian nun in a town north of Maroua in June 2014, and the top Cameroonian Boko Haram commander, Abakar Ali. Abakar Ali had been arrested in September 2014 in Kousseri and revealed under interrogation that he coordinated arms trafficking with the mayor of Fotokol (a town on Cameroon’s border with Nigeria at Gambarou-Ngala), who was subsequently arrested with stockpiles of weapons at his residence.[44] Cameroon also reportedly returned to Boko Haram some of the weapons and ammunition it confiscated from Boko Haram in Kousseri.[45]

The pattern of Boko Haram kidnappings of foreigners in exchange for ransoms and the release of weapons traffickers occurred in several other instances. When Boko Haram kidnapped a French priest in “coordination” with Ansaru in November 2013 from a town 16 miles south of Amchide, the militants released him weeks later for a multi-million dollar ransom and a Kanuri weapons trafficker.[46] Boko Haram also released the two Italian priests and Canadian nun after several weeks in captivity in June 2014 in another prisoner exchange and ransom deal.[47]

The tie between arms traffickers and Boko Haram commanders was also highlighted in key arrests in Cameroon. One Chadian weapons trafficker was arrested in Waza in June 2014 working on behalf of a Maroua-based Boko Haram commander and possessed $15,000 from deals that he made in Chad.[48] Days before his arrest, Cameroon uncovered weapons stockpiles in Maroua’s central market.[49] In addition, in June 2014, Cameroon discovered travel documents from Libya (Africa’s largest arms market since 2011) and Qatar and receipts from car exports to Qatar in a Boko Haram camp, which suggests a possible link to Alhaji Abdalla, who was Boko Haram’s negotiator in the Moulin-Fournier and other kidnappings.[50]

Across the border in Nigeria, one of the financiers of the Chibok kidnapping and a plotter of the assassination of the amir of Gwoza was a Kanuri named Babaji Yaari, who runs a lucrative cart taxi business.[51] He coordinated the Chibok kidnapping with the leader of Boko Haram’s female wing, Hafsat Bako, who was discussed above. Bako was arrested based on the Nigerian security force’s interrogation of Yaari.[52] The transfer of many of the schoolgirls to Cameroon and Chad after the kidnapping suggests that Bako’s and Yaari’s network and the network of kidnappers, financiers, and arms traffickers in Cameroon likely overlap.[53]

This article reveals several new trends in the Boko Haram insurgency. First, Boko Haram’s recruitment now includes hundreds, if not thousands, of forcibly conscripted boys and girls, who are often taken to and “re-educated” in Cameroon. This type of recruitment demonstrates Boko Haram’s need for more human resources to control territory in its self-described caliphate in northeastern Nigeria, and increasingly also in Cameroon.[54] The introduction of new commanders other than Abubakar Shekau, who was previously the only public face of Boko Haram, in videos of an attack in Gwoza in Borno State and the decapitation of a Nigerian air force pilot in August and October 2014 show Boko Haram’s intent to reveal new commanders and amirs as the militants gain control of more LGAs.[55] Moreover, the arrest of Tuaregs from Mali fighting for Boko Haram in Cameroon in September 2014 suggests that its kidnapping and arms trafficking operations may be attracting militants who can strengthen the cross-border insurgency in Nigeria and Cameroon.[56]

Second, Boko Haram is increasingly launching operations in Cameroon’s Extreme North Region and attempting to seize control of Cameroonian border towns, such as Fotokol, Amchide and Kolofata, to secure supply lines for receiving weapons from Chad and Libya for use in Nigeria.[57] Boko Haram may also seek to gain control of interior towns in the Extreme North Region, such as Maroua, Waza, and Kousseri, not only for their importance in the supply line, but also for their historic value as parts of the former Kanem-Borno Caliphate, or “Greater Kanoura.”[58] The Kanem-Borno Caliphate’s former boundaries correspond almost precisely to Boko Haram’s current area of operations, and Boko Haram may seek to recreate that caliphate through its own newly-declared caliphate, but with takfiri ideology replacing the Sufi traditions of the descendants of the Kanem-Borno amirs, who Boko Haram has killed or expelled from northeastern Nigeria.[59] Boko Haram’s seizure of Abadam on Borno’s border with Niger’s Diffa Province in October 2014, which is also part of the historic Kanem-Borno empire, could signal future Boko Haram operations in Niger, where Boko Haram has supply lines that are currently more often used for receiving food and fuel than weapons.[60] The “reunification” of the former Kanem-Borno Caliphate areas would seemingly erase the legacy of colonialism that Boko Haram founder Muhammed Yusuf criticized in his sermons for “amalgamating [Borno] to the infidels…leaving Niger in poverty…and creating ethnic problems and political divisions in Chad.”[61]

Finally, one of the key questions for the Nigerian government is whether a deal for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls, or any type of ceasefire with Boko Haram, is possible and whether it would require Nigeria to cede territory to Boko Haram. According to Muhammed Yusuf’s sermons, establishing an Islamic State was a prerequisite for Boko Haram to have the “independence” to negotiate on equal footing with the “infidel” Nigerian government.[62] It therefore appears that Boko Haram still follows Yusuf’s doctrine, but now also with a model and legitimacy from ISIL on how to create this Islamic State through guerrilla warfare and territorial control.

Jacob Zenn is an analyst of African and Eurasian Affairs for The Jamestown Foundation in Washington DC and an expert on countering violent extremism for think-tanks and international organizations in West Africa and Central Asia. Mr. Zenn is the author of “Northern Nigeria’s Boko Haram: The Prize in al-Qaeda’s Africa Strategy,” which was published by The Jamestown Foundation in 2012, and in November 2013 he provided testimony to the U.S. Congress on “The Continuing Threat of Boko Haram and Ansaru.” He writes in his capacity as an independent expert and his views do not engage any of the policies or positions of current institutional clients.

[1] The group Boko Haram identifies itself as Jama`at Ahl al-Sunna li al-Da`wa wa al-Jihad, which is Arabic for “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.” The term “Boko Haram” means “Western education is sinful” in the Hausa language.
[2] “Cameroon Furious and Fearful Over Boko Haram Infiltration,”, July 12, 2014.
[3] The journalist mentioned was Ahmed Salkida. See Emmanuel Elebeke, “Boko Haram has 50,000 Members in its Camp,” Vanguard, August 28, 2014.
[4] John Hall, “Could ISIS Now be Twice as Powerful? Membership of Extreme Group May Double in Size as it Merges with al Qaeda’s 15,000-Strong Syrian Offshoot on Border with Iraq,” Daily Mail, June 25, 2014; “Ukraine Imposes New Conditions on Peace Talks with Pro-Russia Rebels,” France24, July 9, 2014.
[5] Nigeria has 774 local government areas (LGAs), including more than 20 in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa that are considered under Boko Haram’s control as of October 2014. See “Boko Haram Leader Proclaims ‘Islamic Caliphate’ in Nigeria,” Vanguard, August 24, 2014.
[6] On Shekau’s use of imposters, see Jacob Zenn, “Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau: Dead, Deposed Or Duplicated?” Militant Leadership Monitor 5:5 (2014).
[7] Sani Muhd Sani, “Attack On Bauchi Prison – Boko Haram Frees 721 Inmates,” Leadership, September 8, 2010.
[8]Al-majiri (literally meaning “migrants,” derived from the Arabic word muhajir) are young Islamic students in northern Nigeria, who beg for alms in return for shelter and Qur’anic lessons from local leaders. There are millions of al-majiri students in northern Nigeria, with many in Kano and Borno. See “Al Majiri Education: Journey to Nowhere,” Vanguard, April 19, 2012.
[9] “Boko Haram: Army Arrests Orange Seller with N600m,” 247UReports, May 20, 2013.
[10] Jama`atu Ansaril Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan (Ansaru) was founded in January 2012 by former Nigerian AQIM militants, who focused on kidnapping foreigners and bombing churches in the Middle Belt in Nigeria. It, however, ideologically opposed Boko Haram’s use of takfiri ideology to justify the killing of Muslims.
[11] These leaders included Yusuf’s former third-in-command, the Cameroonian Mamman Nur, and U.S. specially designated Nigerian terrorists Adam Kambar and Khalid al-Barnawi.
[12] “Islamists Ansaru Claim Attack on Mali-bound Nigeria Troops,” Reuters, January 20, 2013; “Declared of Jama`atu Ansaril Muslimina Fibiladis Sudan Garki II Abuja,” November 30, 2012, available at; “French Man Kidnap: Possibly an Inside Job – Katsina CP,” Vanguard, December 21, 2012.
[13] Ola Audu, “Soldiers Nab Top Customs Officer for Allegedly Ferrying Arms for Boko Haram,” Premium Times, May 28, 2013; JC Finley, “10 Nigerian Generals Arrested for Supplying Information, Ammunition to Boko Haram,” UPI, June 3, 2014; “Nigeria Officials Held for ‘Boko Haram Links’,” al-Jazeera, September 30, 2012.
[14] Joe Brock, “Insight: Boko Haram, Taking to Hills, Seize Slave ‘Brides,’” Reuters, November 17, 2013.
[15] Drew Hinshaw, “Boko Haram Kidnaps 20 More Girls in Nigeria,” Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2014; “Boko Haram Seizes 40 Women in Fresh Raid,” PM News Nigeria, October 20, 2014; “Boko Haram Frees Abducted Women, Girls,” Vanguard, October 23, 2014.
[16] Author’s interview of journalists who interviewed IDPs in Gombe and Adamawa States. Salihu Garba, “Yan Boko Haram Sun Sace Mutane Fiye da Dubu Uku Banda na Chibok,” VOA Hausa, August 19, 2014; Tim Cocks, “Nigerians Doubtful of Girls’ Release after Boko Haram ‘Truce’ Breached,” Reuters, October 19, 2014.
[17] Naira is the national currency of Nigeria. See “Kano Bombings Traced to Female Beggars,” This Day, August 4, 2014.
[18] Robyn Dixon, “Young Women Used in Nigerian Suicide Bombings,” Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2014.
[19] “Women, Kids as Suicide Bombers,” Vanguard, August 15, 2014.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Ameh Comrade Godwin, “Some Chibok Girls are Pregnant, Others May Never Return – Obasanjo,” Daily Post, June 13, 2014; “Grave Violations Against Children in Northeastern Nigeria,” Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, September 2014.
[22] Aminu Abubakar, “Nigerian Town Seized by Boko Haram ‘Part of Islamic Caliphate’,” Agence France-Presse, August 24, 2014; Stephanie Lining, “Boko Haram Releases Video Showing Beheading of Nigerian Air Force Pilot as Terror Leader Who Was Thought Dead Reappears,” Daily Mail, October 3, 2014.
[23] Jacob Zenn and Allen Grane, “Five Reasons To Pay Attention to Boko Haram’s Latest Video,” CFR Africa in Transition, October 7, 2014.
[24] “Al-Shabaab Expresses Support for Boko Haram Abduction,”, May 13, 2014.
[25]Dabiq Magazine, al-Hayat Media Center, October 2014.
[26] Jacob Zenn and Elizabeth Pearson, “Women, Gender and the Evolving Tactics of Boko Haram,” St. Andrews Journal of Terrorism Research, January 2014.
[27] For a view on Islam’s abandonment of slavery as a sign of its adaptability to modern times, the author recommends the Mauritanian Institute for Access to Modernity (IMAM); Chris Pleasance, “Hundreds of Yazidi Women Held in Islamic State Prison Where They are Held as Sex Slaves or Sold Off as Jihadi Brides for as Little as $25,” Daily Mail, August 28, 2014; Paul E. Lovejoy, “Concubinage and the Status of Women Slaves in Early Colonial Northern Nigeria,” The Journal of African History 29 (1988): pp 245-266.
[28] “Boko Haram Kills Three, Abducts 12 in Cameroun,” This Day, August 20, 2014; Omeiza Ajayi, “Boko Haram Begins Forced Recruitment,” nationalmirroronline, July 22, 2014.
[29] The author received a video of a battle between security forces and Boko Haram in Fotokol, Cameroon where such signposts could be seen. See “Boko Haram: Over 50 Women Abducted in Gulak Town,” Daily Post, September 15, 2014.
[30] “Boko Haram ‘Executes’ 2 for Smoking Cigarettes,” Agence France-Presse, August 21, 2014; “Boko Haram Kidnaps Scores of Villagers in Nigeria: Witnesses,” Agence France-Presse, August 15, 2014; “Gunmen Kill 16 Villagers, Burn Several Houses, Conscript Youths,”, April 13, 2014.
[31] Kingsley Omonobi, “Thousands Flee to Cameroon as Boko Haram Conscripts Youths to Fight Nigeria,” Vanguard, September 1, 2014.
[32] “Fears in Cameroon of Boko Haram Recruitment,” IRIN, April 16, 2014.
[33] “Boko Haram Gathers New Recruits in Cameroon,”, August 8, 2014.
[34] Nasiru L. Abubakar, “Video Shows Ex-Commissioner’s Execution,” Daily Trust, August 4, 2009; “Boko Haram Gets N40million Donation From Algeria,” Sahara Reporters, May 13, 2012; Eli Lake, “Boko Haram’s Bin Laden Connection,” Daily Beast, May 11, 2014.
[35] “Mali: un Béninois à la tête d’une unité combattante, une katiba, dans le Nord,” Radio France Internationale, December 28, 2012; “Barnawi, Kambar: Qaeda-linked Militants with Boko Haram Ties,” Agence France-Presse, June 21, 2012.
[36] “Cameroun: 10 millions d’euros de rançon pour libérer le père Vandenbeusch,” Le Journal International, February 7, 2014.
[37] “Cameroun: La Boko Haram connection,”, June 2, 2014.
[38] Ibid. For details on Ansaru’s likely role in the Moulin-Fournier kidnapping, see section on “Evidence of Ansaru’s Presence in Borno” in Jacob Zenn, “Boko Haram’s Evolving Tactics and Alliances in Nigeria,” CTC Sentinel 6:6 (2013): p. 13.
[39] “Boko Haram Unleashes Terror in Cameroon,” Sun News Online, July 28, 2014.
[40] “Biya’s Answer to Boko Haram,” Africa Confidential, August 29, 2014.
[41] “Cameroon/Boko Haram. Was Unpaid Ransom for French Family Responsible for Kidnap of VPM’s Wife?” Iroko Magazine, July 28, 2014.
[42] Ibid.
[43] Mbenju Mfany, “Over 40 Boko Haram Members Detained in Maroua,”, June 25, 2014.
[44] “Cameroon Army Arrests Ramat Musa, Nigerian Mayor of Fotokol, 300 Insurgents,” The Street Journal, October 4, 2014; “Cameroonian Military Capture Boko Haram’s Top Commander, Abakar Ali,” Sahara Reporters, September 26, 2014.
[45] “Amchide: 31 Membres de Boko Haram Livrés au Nigeria,” Cameroon-Info, December 27, 2012; “40 Suspected Boko Haram Militants Arrested in Cameroon,” Leadership, June 24 2014; “Cameroun: 20 ans de prison pour des members,”, July 31, 2014; “Cameroun: Les membres de Boko Haram libérés par le gouvernement,”, October 16, 2014.
[46] “Boko Haram: Freed French Priest Arrives in Paris,” PM News, January 1, 2014; “Senior Officials in Cameroon Suspected of Complicity With Nigerian Islamic Sect,”, April 11, 2014; “Abducted Chinese Likely in Nigeria – Cameroon,” Vanguard, May 17, 2014; Guibai Guitama, “Cameroun – Libération du père Georges Vandenbeusch: Le négociateur désigné de Boko Haram réclame son argent,” L’Oeil du Sahel, January 6, 2014.
[47] Kathryn Blaze Carlson, “Release of Canadian Nun, Italian Priests Spurs Questions,” The Globe and Mail, June 1, 2014
[48] “Cameroun: Un coursier du Boko Haram aux arrêts à Waza,”, June 19, 2014; Moki Edwin Kindzeka, “Cameroon’s Military Seizes War Weapons,” VOA, June 18, 2014.
[49] “Cameroon Arrests 40 Boko Haram Suspects,” Punch, June 25, 2014; “40 Suspected Boko Haram Militants Arrested in Cameroon,” VOA, June 24, 2014.
[50] “Cameroun: La Boko Haram connection,”, June 2, 2014.
[51] Cart taxis (popularly called Achaba or Going) in northern Nigeria are imported mostly from China and became a lucrative business after the government imposed a ban on motorcycles as a means of transportation, which the government believed are more likely to be used in terrorist attacks, such as drive-by shootings. See Jacob Zenn, “Boko Haram’s ‘Borno Kidnapping Duo’: Hafsat Bako and Babuji Yaari,” Militant Leadership Monitor V:VII (2014).
[52] Ibid.
[53] “Nigeria: Reports Say Boko Haram Ferried Abducted Girls to Chad, Cameroon,” Daily Trust, April 29, 2014.
[54] “Nigeria’s Female Suicide Bombers: A Show of Strength,” War on the Rocks blog, October 16, 2014.
[55] “Boko Haram Releases Video Showing Beheading of Nigerian Air Force Pilot as Terror Leader Who Was Thought Dead Reappears,” Daily Mail, October 3, 2014; “Boko Haram Declares Gwoza Islamic Caliphate,” Punch, August 25, 2014.
[56] “Boko Haram Clashes Disrupt Learning in Cameroon,” Deutsche Welle, September 10, 2014.
[57] Boko Haram has attacked Cameroonian border towns such as Fotokol, Ashigashia and Kolofata, and Amchide, which connect to Borno’s border towns of Gambarou, Gwoza, and Banki, respectively.
[58] “Greater Kanoura” is a nationalist term used in the 1950s that refers to majority Kanuri areas of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger in the 1950s. See Minahan, J. Nations Without States (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1996).
[59] Jacob Zenn, Atta Barkindo, and Nicholas Heras, “The Ideological Evolution of Boko Haram in Nigeria: Merging Local Salafism and International Jihadism,” The RUSI Journal, July 2013.
[60] “Boko Haram Seizes 40 Women in Fresh Raid,” PM News Nigeria, October 20, 2014.
[61] Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf, Tarihin Musulmai, History of Muslims, video from pre-July 2009, accessed May 2014.
[62] Abu Shekau’s (and Muhammed Yusuf’s) tafsir to Boko Haram members, video from pre- July 2009, accessed May 2014.

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