Canada’s colonial misadventures in Africa have strengthened Boko Haram’s hand

boko-haram

Yves Engler / Rabble

Blowback. Karma. Unintended consequences. A corollary to the golden rule. We have many words to describe the concept: doing harm to others often results in bad things happening to us or people we “care” about, sometimes many years later.

Since the November attacks in Paris, Boko Haram has killed nearly twice as many people as ISIS did in the City of Lights. But the carnage in northern Nigeria has received much less attention — and Canada’s connection to it has received none at all.

Five days after the Paris killings Boko Haram claimed responsibility for suicide attacks in Yola and Kano that killed 50. Ten days later the group killed 22 at a Shia Muslim procession near Kano, another 11 a few days later just over the border in Cameroon and 27 on an island on Nigeria’s border with Chad a week later. Last week they killed 52 in Maiduguri and Madagali. According to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index, Boko Haram killed more people in 2014 than ISIS.

Largely ignored in North America, the 2011 Canada/France/Britain/U.S. war in Libya benefited Boko Haram. It destabilized that country and now ISIS is in control of Sirte and other parts of the country. In 2012 the Libyan conflict spilled south into Mali. Last March Boko Haram announced its affiliation with ISIS and the Nigerian group is thought to be receiving fighters and media support from ISIS camps in Libya. The Libyan war also increased the availability of weaponry in the Sahel region. A few months after Gaddafi was killed a Reuters headline explained: “Arms from Libya could reach Boko Haram, al-Qaeda: UN”

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