|“||The battle is just beginning.||„|
|~ Abubakar Shekau|
The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad (Arabic: جماعة اهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد Jamāʻat Ahl as-Sunnah lid-daʻwa wal-Jihād)—better known by its Hausa name Boko Haram (pronounced [bōːkòː hàrâm], "Western education is sinful")—is an Islamic jihadist and takfiri militant and terrorist organization based in the northeast of Nigeria, north Cameroon and Niger.
Founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, the organisation seeks to establish a "pure" Islamic state ruled by sharia law, putting a stop to what it deems "Westernization". The group is known for attacking Christians and government targets, bombing churches, attacking schools and police stations, kidnapping western tourists, but has also assassinated members of the Islamic establishment. Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths between 2002 and 2013.
Since March 2015, the group has been aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Since the current insurgency started in 2009, Boko Haram has killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million from their homes and was at one time the world's deadliest terrorism group according to the Global Terrorism Index.
After its founding in 2002, Boko Haram's increasing radicalization led to the suppression operation by the Nigerian military forces and the summary execution of its leader Mohammed Yusuf in July 2009. Its unexpected resurgence, following a mass prison break in September 2010, was accompanied by increasingly sophisticated attacks, initially against soft targets, but progressing in 2011 to include suicide bombings of police buildings and the United Nations office in Abuja. The government's establishment of a state of emergency at the beginning of 2012, extended in the following year to cover the entire northeast of Nigeria, led to an increase in both security force abuses and militant attacks.
Of the 2.3 million people displaced by the conflict since May 2013, at least 250,000 have left Nigeria and fled into Cameroon, Chad or Niger. Boko Haram killed over 6,600 in 2014. The group have carried out mass abductions including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014. Corruption in the security services and human rights abuses committed by them have hampered efforts to counter the unrest.
In mid-2014, the militants gained control of swathes of territory in and around their home state of Borno, estimated at 50,000 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi) in January 2015, but did not capture the state capital, Maiduguri, where the group was originally based. On 7 March 2015, Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, rebranding as Islamic State in West Africa. In September 2015, the Director of Information at the Defence Headquarters of Nigeria announced that all Boko Haram camps had been destroyed but attacks from the group continue. 2019 has seen the further decline of Boko Haram and the loss of much of the territory it once reportedly controlled.