Nigeria’s radical Islamist sect Boko Haram is suspected to be behind almost daily attacks in the remote northeast and claimed a series of bomb blasts further afield last month. Following are questions and answers on who the group are, what they want, and whether their ideology is widely followed.
WHAT IS BOKO HARAM?
Based in Maiduguri, capital of the northeastern state of Borno, it was initially led by self-proclaimed Islamic scholar, Mohammed Yusuf, who was radically opposed to Western education and wanted strict sharia Islamic law adopted across Nigeria.
Sometimes referred to as the “Nigerian Taliban”, the group’s name means “Western education is sinful” in the Hausa language spoken across northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram followers pray in separate mosques in cities including Maiduguri, Kano and Sokoto, and wear long beards and red or black headscarves.