Technology: Negotiating Tomorrow’s Armed Conflict and Terrorism in West Africa


While sources of military hardware, design and development of Improvised Explosive Devices(IEDs) Boko Haram used in fighting the Nigerian state are important in countering violentextremism, this paper, using the case of Boko Haram in Nigeria, examines the impact oftechnology on future armed conflicts and violent extremism in Nigeria and West Africa. AsAfrica enters the new digital age, characterized by increasing access to mobile telephoning, internet penetration, 3D printing and the Internet of Things; networking between and amonggroups with similar ideologies will improve. As discovered in a recent fieldwork on BokoHaram's activities across border communities in northeastern Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon, tactical efforts like mobilizing crowds, disseminating ideologies, recruiting strategic assets, andsharing technical know‐how have facilitated the transformation of Boko Haram from a dagger‐wielding, arrow‐shooting group into a deployer of mobile‐phone‐triggered IEDs, coordinatingsimultaneous attacks on multiple targets. Undoubtedly, the new digital age guarantees culturalcohesiveness and a more robust outside support that will serve in recruitment, financing, logisticsand training. With mobile telephoning and internet access providing (dangerous) information andresources to all, what future awaits Nigeria, West Africa and Africa should Boko Haram gainaccess to remote controlled flying drones, quadcopters, and other ‘toys' fitted with homemadebombs and IEDs? What new level of domestic terror would emerge if Boko Haram develop acapacity for cyberterrorism, especially since cyberterrorism affects data and cash, guarantees norisk of personal bodily harm, involves minimal resources commitment, and affords opportunitiesto inflict a higher level of damage? This study examines these issues and type of responsesavailable to government in dealing with a technology‐driven armed conflict and terrorism.



Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Publication Date


Journal Title

In Proceedings of the African Futures Conference, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 165-165. 2018.