Nigeria-expert in Almedalen
Henrik Angerbrandt will take part in a seminar on the militant islamist networks Boko Haram and ISIS on Thursday, 2 July.
Why has it proved so difficult for the Nigerian government to win against Boko Haram?
– The government initially employed a heavy-handed and indiscriminate response to the Boko Haram insurgency. This has proved to be counter-productive and has triggered a cycle of violence. Boko Haram have at the same time gone through different phases in which different strategies have been used, including suicide bombings, targeted attacks against individuals and last year’s more geographical concentrated operations aiming to control territory, which ill-prepared Nigerian security forces have been unable to respond to. The former government focused on Boko Haram as an expression of international terrorism, neglecting the root causes of how Boko Haram gained a foothold in the region from the outset. There is need to expand on an approach that goes beyond a purely military response to Boko Haram.
What perspective and experience will you bring to the panel discussion at Almedalsveckan?
– I will emphasize the need to understand Boko Haram in a northern Nigerian context. The area in which they operate is marginalized and neglected, which provides space for movements like Boko Haram to arise. People face limited opportunities which in conjunction with a history of intermittent radical Islamization as a response to marginalization make movements like Boko Haram an available alternative to a state that is perceived by many citizens as corrupt and inaccessible.