Location and Duration
The Boko Haram conflict is currently taking place in Nigeria, with some minor ongoing activity in western Chad, southeast Niger and northern Cameroon. Though the group is concentrated in the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe in Nigeria, its influence has spread throughout the country. The current insurgency officially began on July 26th, 2009, and while Nigerian President Muhammadu Buharu declared the conflict ‘technically’ over in December 2015, the violence continues today.
First, there is Boko Haram (meaning “Western education is forbidden”), an Islamic extremist group currently lead by Abubakar Shekau. Originally called Yusifiyya (after the former leader, Mohammed Yusuf), in 2010 their official name became Jama 'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda 'awati wal-Jihad (meaning “People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad”). Since pledging allegiance to ISIL in in March 2015, the group is officially known as Wilayat Gharb Afriqiya or ISWAP (“Islamic State West Africa Province”).
On the opposing side, there is the Nigerian State, the military and police force of which has been combatting the Boko Haram since its founding. The Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) is a government group made up of military units from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria that was founded in 1994. In 2015, it underwent structural changes after years of inaction, its new aim being to bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.