The Nigerian government is offering rewards that will lead to the capture of key Boko Haram leaders. The Islamic sect has perpetrated many acts of violence against Christian communities across Nigeria. Is this the first step to stopping their reign of terror?
11/24/2012 Nigeria (DW) - Nigeria has offered a reward for information that leads to the capture of members of Boko Haram, an Islamist sect that has claimed past attacks on Christians. Nineteen members of the sect now have a price on their heads.
The Nigerian army said on Saturday it was offering the equivalent of $1.8 million (1.4 million euros) for information that led to the capture of 19 leading members of Boko Haram.
Sect leader Abubakar Shekau (pictured above) has had a bounty set at $312,000, while four other top officials have $156,000 rewards. Fourteen additional 'commanders' now carry a bounty of $62,500.
"They are wanted in connection with terrorist activities particularly in the northeast zone," a statement by the military Joint Task Force in the northeastern state of Borno said on Saturday. "(This) led to the killings, bombings and assassination of civilians, religious leaders, traditional rulers, businessmen, politicians, civil servants and security personnel."
Boko Haram is fighting for the establishment of Shariah law in Nigeria and has been blamed for terror attacks against the country's Christians in the past. Since 2009, around 1,400 people have been killed in such violence.
The attacks are one of the biggest security problems in Africa's most populous country, which is divided roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims.