At least 99 civilians were recently killed in Nigeria in attacks blamed on Boko Haram. Although the U.S. Department of State announced the designation of Boko Haram and Ansaru as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) in November 2013, more than 200 people have been killed since the new year in islamist militant attacks that mainly target civilians. The Nigerian government has taken steps to engage Cameroon, thought to be the refuge of Boko Haram militants along the sparsely populated border, however little is being done by Biya’s government out of fear of retaliation by Boko Haram.
With the spillover of Islamic militant groups (e.g. AQIM, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram) across international borders, collaboration among affected governments is becoming a necessity. However, I’m forced to wonder whether the affected governments have the capability to effectively do so, especially if their internal governing structures are weak to begin with. Perhaps a joint, regional force that is tasked with managing, if not eliminating, extremist groups acting across their borders could lead to stronger governing institutions within these countries.