Boko Haram has been on quite a run lately

The World’s Deadliest Terrorist OrganizationTM continues to rack up bodies across Africa. On December 5, a suicide bombing on Koulfoua Island on Lake Chad killed 27 people, and while that attack is still unclaimed it’s likely that Boko Haram was behind it. On Friday, another Boko Haram attack, this time in Cameroon, killed 10. Meanwhile in Nigeria, last Tuesday the group reportedly burned out an entire village in the northeast, not far from Chibok, the scene of its most infamous attack. Then, yesterday, it killed eight people in separate attacks on two other northeastern Nigerian villages.

Back in August, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered his military to end the Boko Haram uprising by the end of the year. Well, that’s around 2.5 weeks from now, and I hate to break it to everybody but it most likely ain’t happening. That’s not to say that the Nigerian military hasn’t made progress, just that Boko Haram isn’t going to blink out of existence by New Year’s morning. Taking territory away from an insurgent group, as the Nigerian military has done, is one thing, but stopping small-scale terrorist attacks is a much taller order. Even Buhari hasn’t been talking too much about his own deadline recently. Things just aren’t moving fast enough. The multi-national force that was formed to tackle the regional Boko Haram problem over the summer still hasn’t actually opened for business, for example, and nobody seems to know why (although low oil prices and their effect on West African national budgets are probably part of the reason). And there’s been even less apparent progress on non-military aspects of the fight to eradicate Boko Haram, like efforts to address the root causes–poverty, corruption, political discontent–that fuel BH’s continued insurgency.

This steady stream of low-level BH attacks like the ones I listed above doesn’t seem to be hurrying anybody along, suggesting that authorities in Nigeria and the other nations that agreed to participate in the multi-national anti-BH effort are mostly happy to do nothing drastic, in the absence of another really major attack like Chibok.

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