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African Social Science Review

Abstract

This article examines how sporadic conflicts between bordering states can be used by emerging terrorist groups to advance nebulous religious and political agendas and threaten regional security in various regions of the world. For example, the unconventional activities of ruthless insurgent groups in Africa (such as the Islamic State of the Maghrib, Boko Haram, and Al Shabaab) often thrive on conflicts and instability between bordering states, driven by religious, political or economic motives, to acquire power, territory, and control over innocent populations. Notorious for the violence and mayhem that these groups have imposed on villages and towns along the Northern Cameroon and Nigeria borders, Chad, Niger, Kenya, and Mali, this study seeks to utilize conventional border studies theory as it applies to public administration and human security along the Cameroon-Nigerian border in West Africa to examine the destabilizing activities and the threat to regional security posed by the Sunni Islamist group known as Boko Haram. To that end, attention will be given to the connection between the history of conflict along this border and the rise of regional terrorist groups, particularly Boko Haram with its ability to exert control and power over the region by exploiting porous borders, in its attempts to impose a very radical brand of Islam on parts of Northern Cameroon, Nigeria, southern Chad, and Niger. More importantly, this study also attempts to highlight the pivotal role that cooperation between neighboring states and external partners (such as the United States, Great Britain, and France) can play in the fight against terrorists groups such as Boko Haram. We suggest that governments along border states must engage in strategic collaborative agreements that would enable them to establish long-term border security arrangements that are necessary to contain the expansionist agendas of groups such as Boko Haram.

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