Including the Christmas bombing, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks that resulted in the death of 504 people in Nigeria this year alone. The group, which has been nicknamed the “Nigerian Taliban,” aims to bring the African nation under Islamic law, reports the Daily Telegraph. Africa’s biggest oil producer and most populous nation, Nigeria’s northern region is predominately Muslim while the southern half of the country is mostly Christian.
Though Boko Haram has existed since 2002, Australia’s Sky News reports that violence attributed to the group has risen sharply in recent months. In a series of increasingly complex bombings the group has killed more than 280 people since November. The government has made a number of well-publicized arrests of Boko Haram members and raided some of their bomb making factories, but it appears to have had little impact on the group’s operational capabilities.
Several prominent Nigerians have openly criticized the government following the Christmas attack, saying it lacks the “competent” leadership required to effectively solve the country’s security problems.
“This is clearly a failure of leadership at a time the government needs to assure the people of the capacity to guarantee the safety of lives and property,” said Muhammadu Buhari, a former Nigerian presidential candidate in an article by Reuters.