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April Today in Terrorism

April 8, 2011: Terrorists bomb Nigerian elections office

On April 8, 2011 a possible Boko Haram bomb blast killed at least six people at the office of Nigeria’s election commission in the central town of Suleja.

SULEJA, NIGERIA – Human societies took a long time to get to elections where people get to choose their leaders: Islamist terrorists are trying to undo that.

Democracy is in trouble.

By that I don’t only mean those countries where elected leaders try to amend laws to get around term limits (this seems to happen a lot in Africa) or use other ways to stay in power (jailing rivals is a good way to do that, like what Nicaragua’s President Ortega is doing).

What I mean rather is that in many nations where democracies are well-established growing percentages of their populations no longer seem keen on the whole democratic process. Many feel that voting is useless since those elected will do whatever they want anyway. I am not saying that perhaps the whole enterprise does not need some tinkering (electoral district tinkering in the US is atrocious: it even has its own name – gerrymandering), but it is still worth preserving, no?

Do YOU have a better idea?? (Photo: Jamie McCaffrey on Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Among those who detest democracy are terrorists, especially those of the Islamist variety. They think that all power comes from Allah and that humans cannot usurp that function. They also see themselves as the best interpreters of Allah’s will (wait! Did anyone appoint them to that position?).

As a consequence, these extremists often target elections. Here’s an example.

On this day in 2011

A bomb blast killed at least six people at the office of Nigeria’s election commission in the central town of Suleja, hours before polls are due to open for parliamentary elections. The dead included an official from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who had been preparing to distribute election materials ahead of the parliamentary polls.

A heinous bomb attack.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

The area where the attack took place is a part of Nigeria well known for jihadi operations: this incident could very well have been at the hands of Boko Haram. One more instance where an Islamist extremist group decides what everyone else should do.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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