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A comprehensive look at the history of attacks by Nigeria's Boko Haram

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(Read caption) Fire fighters, put out a fire following an explosion, at the police headquarters, in Abuja, Nigeria on June 16, 2011.

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Boko Haram, a Muslim rebel movement based in northeastern Nigeria, is a frequent topic on this blog and has been a subject of increasing scrutiny by journalists and policymakers following the June 16 bombing at the police headquarters in Abuja. What follows is a list of Boko Haram’s attacks from July 2009 to the present. Given the vast number of incidents linked to Boko Haram, it is nearly impossible to compile a comprehensive list, but I’ve done the best I can. Please forgive the occasional inaccuracy or omission, and let me know if I’ve left out any incident.

There are a number of background pieces that give insights into Boko Haram. The BBC has a special report from Maiduguri, the stronghold of the movement. Reuters has a helpful Q&A on the movement, and al Jazeera has a backgrounder from 2010.

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Here is the list. For each incident I have listed the date, method of attack, target (if known), location, and casualties.

  • The 2004 attacks in Kannama are often called a precursor to later uprisings.
  • July 26, 2009: Boko Haram launches mass uprising with attack on a police station in Bauchi, starting a five-day uprising that spread to Maiduguri and elsewhere.
  • September 7, 2010: Gunmen attack a prison in Bauchi, killing around five guards and freeing numerous prisoners, including former sect members.
  • October 6, 2010: Gunmen assassinate two security guards outside a politician’s home and, several hours later, assassinate ANPP leader Awana Ngala in Maiduguri.
  • October 9, 2010: Gunmen assassinate Muslim cleric Bashir Kashara and one of his students in Maiduguri. Separately, gunmen assassinate a police officer in Maiduguri.
  • October 11, 2010: Bombing/gun attack on a police station in Maiduguri destroys the station and injures three
  • December 28, 2010: Boko Haram claims responsibility for the Christmas Eve bombing in Jos that killed 38, but police are skeptical; Boko Haram also tied to an attack on churches in Maiduguri.
  • December 28, 2010: Gunmen assassinate a senior police officer and two others at a hospital in Maiduguri.
  • January 3, 2011: Gunmen assassinate a policeman in Maiduguri.
  • January 28, 2011: Gunmen assassinate ANPP gubernatorial candidate Modu Fannami Gubio and eight others in Maiduguri.
  • February 15, 2011: Gunmen attack a church in Maiduguri, no casualties confirmed.
  • February 20, 2011: Gunmen assassinate a policeman (in Maiduguri?).
  • February 23, 2011: Gunmen assassinate a policeman (in Maiduguri?).
  • February 28, 2011: Gunmen attack a police commander’s home and kill two policemen.
  • March 2, 2011: Gunmen assassinate two policemen in Maiduguri.
  • March 13, 2011: Gunmen assassinate Muslim cleric Imam Ibrahim Ahmed Abdullahi in Maiduguri.
  • March 27, 2011: Gunmen assassinate ANPP leader Alhaji Modu Gana Makanike in Maiduguri.
  • April 9, 2011: Bombings at polling places injure several and killing at least one person in Maiduguri.
  • April 20, 2011: A bombing in Maiduguri kills a policeman.
  • April 24, 2011: Four bombs explode in Maiduguri, killing at least three.
  • May 17, 2011: Gunmen kill a policeman in Maiduguri.
  • May 29, 2011: Bombings at an army barracks in Bauchi city and elsewhere later claimed by Boko Haram.
  • May 31, 2011: Gunmen assassinate Abba Anas Ibn Umar Garbai, brother of the Shehu of Borno, in Maiduguri.
  • June 6, 2011: Gunmen assassinate Muslim cleric Ibrahim Birkuti in Maiduguri.
  • June 7, 2011: Teams of gunmen launch parallel attacks with guns and bombs on a church and police stations in Maiduguri, killing five.
  • June 16, 2011: Bombing at police headquarters in Abuja, claimed by Boko Haram. Casualty reports vary.
  • June 20, 2011: Gunmen attack a bank and a police station in Kankara (Katsina State), but police later say they were bandits, not Boko Haram.
  • June 26, 2011: Gunmen shoot and bomb a bar in Maiduguri kills some 25 people.

I hope this list will permit deeper analysis of trends in these attacks. I may write something on that next week, but in the meantime definitely leave a comment if something leaps out at you.

Alex Thurston is a PhD student studying Islam in Africa at Northwestern University and blogs at Sahel Blog.