Omar S Mahmood, Ndubuisi Christian Ani

Responses to Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Region: Policies, Cooperation and Livelihoods

Institute for Security Studies


This report, produced by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), is the second in a two-part study examining current dynamics with regards to violent extremist organisations (VEOs) operating in the Lake Chad region (Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger). The first report examined factionalism within the Boko Haram movement, while the second report profiles current responses and challenges. 
The Lake Chad region is characterised by a number of factors which make it conducive to the presence of non-state actors. No single factor explains the emergence and rise of Boko Haram in the region, but understanding the overall context is important to understanding the movement itself. Chief among the factors enabling the rise of Boko Haram include a limited state presence and poor governance, underdevelopment and unemployment, environmental pressures enhanced by the receding waters of Lake Chad and desertification, and a deep history of Islamic conservatism. 
While those factors describe the shared overall context in which Boko Haram has operated and thrived, responses have differed across the region. The development of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has played an instrumental role in terms of coordinating military action, but cooperation has generally been restricted to this sphere, and largely amounts to joint military operations around border locations.