The 2009 Boko Haram uprising was a conflict between Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group, and Nigerian security forces. Violence across several states in northeastern Nigeria resulted in more than 1,000 dead, with around 700 killed in the city of Maiduguri alone, according to one military official.
A government inquiry later found that, while long-standing tensions existed between Boko Haram and the Nigerian Security forces, the immediate cause of the violence stemmed from a confrontation between a group of sect members and police in the city of Maiduguri. The Boko Haram members were en route to bury a comrade at the cemetery. The officers, part of a special operation to suppress violence and rampant crime in Borno State, demanded that the young men comply with a law requiring motorcycle passengers to wear helmets. They refused and, in the confrontation that followed, police shot and wounded several of the men.
According to initial media reports, the violence began on 26 July when Boko Haram launched an attack on a police station in Bauchi State. Clashes between militants and the Nigeria Police Force erupted in Kano, Yobe and Borno soon after. But President Umaru Yar’Adua disputed this version of events, claiming that government security forces had struck first.
“I want to emphasize that this is not an inter-religious crisis and it is not the Taliban group that attacked the security agents first, no. It was as a result of a security information gathered on their intention ... to launch a major attack," he said.
Nigerian troops surrounded the home of Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, the founder and spiritual leader of Boko Haram since 2002, in Maiduguri on 28 July after his followers had barricaded themselves inside. On July 30, the military captured Yusuf and transferred him to the custody of the police. They summarily executed him in public outside police headquarters.
Islam Online suggests that politics, not religion, was the cause of the violence. People such as Christian pastor George Orjih were murdered specifically because they refused to convert to Islam.
Prior to the clashes, many local Muslim leaders and at least one military official had warned the Nigerian authorities about the Boko Haram sect. Those warnings were reportedly ignored....LESS