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Boko Haram

( AS OF OCTOBER 2022 )


Boko Haram
Boko Haram flag

Boko Haram, which aims to expel Western influence and create a Salafi-Islamist state in its area of operations, has killed an estimated 50,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million people since it was established in 2002. The group was at various times affiliated with al-Qa‘ida or ISIS but is not currently aligned with either group. In mid-2021, longtime Boko Haram amir Abubakar Shekau killed himself to avoid capture during an offensive by rival group ISIS–West Africa. Since then, Boko Haram has lost most of its fighters and territory in Nigeria as former members have defected to ISIS–West Africa or turned themselves in to local governments.

Based primarily in northeast Nigeria and southeast Niger; also conducts operations in Cameroon and Chad

Around 1,000 as of late 2022

Boko Haram frequently uses small arms to attack civilians and regional security forces. The group has conducted kidnappings to elicit ransoms and obtain medical services. Boko Haram has also used untrained kidnapping victims, including women and children, as suicide bombers.

The US State Department designated Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization in November 2013.


Abubakar Shekau

Abubakar Shekau  [DECEASED]
Former amir; led Boko Haram from 2009 to 2021

Ibrahim Bakoura

Ibrahim Bakoura
Leader of a faction in southeast Niger; most well-known Boko Haram figure since Shekau


11 December 2020

Katsina State, Nigeria

Boko Haram claims responsibility for kidnapping at least 344 male students from a secondary school, although an associated criminal group probably conducted the attack; the students were released the next week.

23 March 2020

Bohoma, Chad

Boko Haram raids a Chadian military base, killing 98 soldiers.

14 April 2014

Borno State, Nigeria

Boko Haram abducts 276 female students from a school, leading to global media attention through the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign. Most of the girls escaped or were released, but more than 100 are still missing.

26 August 2011

Abuja, Nigeria

Boko Haram bombs the local UN headquarters, killing at least 23 people and injuring up to 116.