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Strategic communications, Boko Haram and counter-insurgency

Tasiu Abubakar, A. (2017). Strategic communications, Boko Haram and counter-insurgency. Defence Strategic Communications, 3(Autumn), pp. 139-170.


Strategic communications is gaining traction as a potent tool of countering insurgency. State and non-state actors—including insurgent groups—are increasingly turning to it in pursuit of their goals. This article offers a comparative study of the use of strategic communications by both the Nigerian Armed Forces and the jihadi group they seek to obliterate: Boko Haram. It also assesses their impact on the media coverage of their activities. The jihadists deployed both their communications skills and their infamies to put their insurgency onto the global scene. The Army employed a range of tools—some effective, some less so—to counter them. The media’s obsession with jihadi stories gave the insurgents an edge, but the Army managed to disrupt most of their strategies. Extraneous factors do influence strategic communications campaigns, but honesty—or the perception of it—is a necessary condition for their long-term efficacy.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright NATO StratCom COE. 2017. This article may not be copied, reproduced, distributed or publicly displayed without reference to the NATO StratCom COE and the academic journal Defence Strategic Communications.
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
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