Boko Haram and violent extremism: perspectives from peacebuilders


The atrocities unleashed by Boko Haram since 2009 have affected millions of people in Nigeria and the region as a whole. This policy brief presents the results of a field-based study on peacebuilders’ perspectives of the drivers of violent extremism; and the underlying socio-economic and political factors that influence individuals to join Boko Haram. The study reveals that peacebuilders consider religious dynamics as the most influential factor in individuals’ decision to join the terrorist group. As such, the study reveals that peacebuilders’ views regarding the drivers of violent extremism are often markedly different to those expressed by former Boko Haram members themselves.

About the authors

Martin Ewi joined the ISS in July 2010 as a senior researcher. He served as a political affairs officer at Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from 2005 to 2010. Before joining the OPCW, he was in charge of the African Union Commission’s counter-terrorism programme in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He holds a master’s degree in international peace studies from the University of Notre Dame, Southbend, Indiana, USA.

Uyo Salifu is a researcher in the Transnational Threats and International Crime Division of the ISS. Her focus areas are counterterrorism and countering violent extremism in West Africa, witness protection, and children and gender in terrorism.

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