If you’ve been wondering where Sahel Blog has been, well here is the answer. He found himself in the eye of the Boko Haram storm in northern Nigeria, and for very sensible security and research ethicy reasons went dark for a bit. But his reflections provide interesting context to what’s happening in a poorly understood part of the world…

Sahel Blog

Regular readers probably noticed a drop-off in posting around September; daily posting did not resume until last week. During the interval I was in Kano, Northern Nigeria, doing my dissertation fieldwork. My dissertation is not about Boko Haram – rather it is about Muslims from Northern Nigeria who have studied in Arab universities and returned home, and indeed none of Boko Haram’s leaders seem to fall into this category, being instead locally educated – but Boko Haram certainly cast a shadow over my time there.

Looked at in a grim way, my time in Kano was bracketed by two terrorist attacks launched by Boko Haram: the August 26 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, which occurred a few days before I left the US for Nigeria, and the series of coordinated bombings that occurred in Kano on January 20, a few days before I left. The first…

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