Boko Haram’s five-year insurgency is “clearly the most lethal conflict that Nigeria has confronted in decades,” according to the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, or SAIS. The school has just released the Nigeria Social Violence Dataset, which tallies Nigeria’s “incidents of deadly social violence” since 1998. The numbers indicate Boko Haram’s militant Salafist campaign, which spans five of the dataset’s 16 years, is responsible for nearly 40 percent of the killings during the total period.
The dataset does not break down the violence along sectarian lines.
In a Washington Post column, SAIS Ph.D. candidate Nathaniel Allen said the violence in northeast Nigeria has been overshadowed by events the Middle East. Even “Nigeria’s elites seem to be detached,” he writes, and most urban Nigerians consider Boko Haram to be a localised problem in a remote corner of the country.
“For the moment, Boko Haram is a network with local foundations and goals, but the rising scale of conflict belies the easy dismissals of some observers,” Allen says.