The Los Angeles Times quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on Boko Haram’s influence in Nigeria and why the government has been ineffective in curbing the influence of the terrorist organization:

“The Nigerians have long used one instrument, which is a very blunt instrument: military force,” said J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank. “To fight a counterinsurgency [campaign] you need policies to secure the population so they are isolated from attacks and are protected to prevent support for the group, and to give them a stake in society.

“You also need intelligence,” he said.

Pham said Boko Haram had links to the group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and to the Shabab, the Al Qaeda-linked Somali terrorist group, with its fighters apparently receiving training in Afghanistan and Somalia.

“They’re not representative of Nigerians or Nigerian Muslims. They’re an extremist group, revolting to most Nigerians,” he said.

“Many people still fear them and many people still don’t give information to the security forces because of fear, not necessarily because they sympathize with them,” Pham said.

“That will create local resentment that the government can protect foreigners when it can’t even protect its own people,” Pham said.

Read the full article here.