Boko Haram's Beginnings

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This webinar was held February 22, 2022.

Prof. Jacob Zenn is an adjunct assistant professor of the graduate-level course African Armed Movements at Georgetown University's Security Studies Program and is a senior fellow on African Affairs and the editor of the Terrorism Monitor and Militant Leadership Monitor publications at The Jamestown Foundation in Washington DC. He conducted fieldwork in Borno State, Nigeria and Niger, Cameroon, and Chad to map Boko Haram's organizational structure for the Swiss Embassy in Nigeria prior to the 2016 negotiations for the release of the kidnapped Chibok Schoolgirls. He is also author of the book, Unmasking Boko Haram: Exploring Global Jihad in Nigeria (Lynne Rienner Publishers in association with the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St Andrews), published in spring 2020. His recent research has focused on the origins of Boko Haram and his current research focuses on child soldiers in Boko Haram.

Jacob Zenn will discuss his upcoming Journal of the Middle East and Africa article on "Boko Haram's Beginnings: Guantánamo Detainee Assessment Revelations on Diaspora Nigerian Jihadists in Saudi Arabia" and how he came across the key source from the Guantanamo detainee transcripts around which the article revolves; where the article is situated in the ongoing debates about Boko Haram's origins and evolution; and broader reflections on the interconnections between the Middle East and West Africa in context of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. In addition, Zenn will explain how the article supplements the key findings of his book Unmasking Boko Haram: Exploring Global Jihad in Nigeria, published in 2020.