The death of Mr. Mohammed Yusuf, leader of the Islamist rebel group that shook Nigeria’s civil society, religious sphere, and democracy, in the last week, has died. However, it remains to be seen whether or not, his legacy, philosophy and mission dies with him. Mr. Yusuf was a thirty-nine year-old motivational character, who had four wives and twelve children.
In a country of about one hundred and eighty million people, where two major religions have thrived fairly, Mr. Yusuf sought to replace both religious sects with an extreme version of one. The idea of imposing the Sharia Law across a country of about sixty million moderate Muslims, and fifty-six million Christians, not to mention the remaining fourteen million people who hold other beliefs, is a notion that belongs to the dark ages.
The young Muslim extremist also aspired to destroy the democracy and ‘civilization’ that has taken forty five years to attain. He started the group in 2004 and even though it was named Boko Haram, to the northern Nigerians it was known as Taliban.
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Mr. Yusuf describes Western education as a sin and plotted to overthrow the Nigerian government, impose an extreme interpretation of Islamic law and abolish what they term Western-style education. Boko Haram believes Nigeria’s government is being corrupted by Western ideas. The group showed its belief in the ideology of violece associated with Islamic fundamentalism that claims to defend the Islamic culture, society, and values against the political, imperialistic, and cultural influences of non-Muslims and the Western world in particular.
The motivational leader who believed that the earth is flat, and that rain is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain was an extremely wealthy graduate who attracted young men from rich families with connections to the government, disaffected university students, jobless graduates, and foreigners from neighboring Niger and Chad with his ideologies and rebellion.
In the last five days the Boko Haram rebels stormed government buildings and engaged the security forces in gun battles where they met their waterloo. However more than 300 people were reported to have died as a result of the violence. The Red Cross said about 3,500 people had fled the fighting and were being housed in their camp.
Mr. Yusuf was arrested earlier on Thursday, and was killed by security forces in a shootout while trying to escape, the regional police assistant inspector-general, Moses Anegbode, has confirmed.
Despite the celebrations amongs the civilians of Northern Nigeria, moderate muslims, christians and secutity forces, over the death of Mr. Yusuf, no-one seems to know just how big a threat the Boko Harma could turn out to be. There is no estimate of their membership, or network, and no one knows what their next move would be. Surviving members who view democracy and western-styled educationing as part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to corrupt, divide and destroy Islam, still walk the streets of Nigeria, Niger or Chad, and Mr. Yusuf, to them, is a matyre.