Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham is quoted by Voice of America on the ongoing struggle against Boko Haram:
Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said Boko Haram has grown from a loose group of gunmen into a full-fledged insurgency with help from foreign jihadists in Africa, especially in Somalia and Mali.
“Following the French intervention in Mali, the militants, possibly accompanied by a few foreign nationals, returned to northern Nigeria, not only with training and some combat experience in desert warfare, but also vehicles and heavy weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles,” said Pham.
These weapons enabled Boko Haram to attack the government’s military facilities to seize more and better weapons. Pham said corruption of local officials and a lack of development in northern Nigeria have made Boko Haram’s call for a radical change attractive to some people. However, he added, the real problem is the federal government’s lax response to the threat.