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January 25, 2015 at 9:29 am

Kendhammer Explains Nigeria Elections, Significance of Recent Boko Haram Attack

CBC Radio Hallie Cotnam, host of Ottawa Morning, interviewed Dr. Brandon Kendhammer, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ohio University, for a segment on “Boko Haram continues to attack civilians in Northern Nigeria.”

Nigeria has 175 million people and recently became Africa’s largest economy.

Dr. Brendon Kendhammer

Dr. Brendon Kendhammer

“A big part of the story has to do with the upcoming Nigerian elections that are scheduled to be held in the middle of February. And they are elections that pit a candidate in the southern part of the country, Goodluck Jonathan, against a candidate from the Muslim north,” Kendhammer said.

“It’s a very competitive election. The outcome is very uncertain, and with the security challenges that often accompany elections in Nigeria—a history of violence and ethnic conflict around elections—Boko Haram sees this as an opportunity to extend their hold on power in the northeastern part of the country.”

Kendhammer also answers the host’s question about why, as world attention focused on the Paris Charlie Hebdo attack, Boko Haram conducted a large-scale attack that Amnesty International estimates may have killed as many as 2,000 people.

Kendhammer explained that it’s difficult to get on-the-ground information from the town called Baga, that has been repeatedly the center of conflict. Baga “has been a location of Boko Haram attacks in the past as well as government reprisals. It’s also the site of a major military base where there was going to be staging for some international cooperation between Nigeria and neighboring countries to maybe push back against Boko Haram.”

Listen to the entire interview on CBC Radio.

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