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Operational Dynamics of Boko Haram's Terrorist Campaign Following Leadership Succession


Operational Dynamics of Boko Haram's Terrorist Campaign Following Leadership Succession

Abstract: 

This article analyzes the operational dynamics of Boko Haram, the largest radical Islamist organization engaged in acts of terrorism in Nigeria. We analyze Boko Haram's terrorist campaign using information gathered from 1,086 successful attacks that occurred between July 2009 and December 2014. We examine the operational tempo of attacks on a monthly basis, identify the primary tactics employed in and targets of those attacks, and assess the outcome of each successful attack in terms of severity metrics. We find that despite leadership changes, Boko Haram has increased the frequency of attacks, gained international media attention, and continues to pose a serious threat to security in West Africa. The analysis provides a series of insights into why Boko Haram was able to complete a leadership succession and achieve this success after its initial defeat despite internal and external factors that have undermined prior terrorist campaigns. Consequently, unless the internal and/or external dynamics are altered, Boko Haram is likely to continue to conduct attacks and remain a serious threat to Nigeria and to the security of adjoining countries in West Africa.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Regens, James L., Nick Mould, Elizabeth Vernon and Amanda Montgomery. 2016. "Operational Dynamics of Boko Haram's Terrorist Campaign Following Leadership Succession." Social Science Quarterly 97 (February): 44-52. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ssqu.12251/abstract

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