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Boko Haram Financial Assessment

Boko Haram Financial Assessment

Yaya J. Fanusie
1st May 2017 - FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance

Boko Haram (“Western education is forbidden”) is reeling under the pressure of Nigerian military operations, but its mobility and relatively low-cost operations in poorly governed territory will likely allow it to mount attacks despite dwindling resources. As Boko Haram is degraded militarily, it may squeeze locals more to provide for the day-to-day livelihood of its militants. Operating mostly in remote areas where it exploits economically vulnerable populations, Boko Haram generated income streams of at least $10 million a year in 2014-15. However, its funding has likely since declined, and the group is now unable to pay all of its fighters’ salaries. The group’s funding is likely to withstand most restrictions on accessing the banking sector, as it uses the hawala system to move its wealth, some of which has come from supporters outside Nigeria. The group also uses criminal opportunism to raise funding locally, taking advantage of minimal state presence near the border. Originally dependent on bank robbery and smuggling, the group now relies more on kidnapping and extortion. Boko Haram uses quick-strike operations for its subsistence, ransacking villages and looting food and livestock.

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