In less than a decade, Boko Haram has caused thousands of victims. The violence has meant the destruction of houses, of shops, and of the hopes of many. Tens of thousands were forced to abandon their villages to look for more secure places where to live. Here is a timeline of the terror unleashed by Islamic fundamentalists and other armed groups.
2002 February – Some 100 people are killed in Lagos in clashes between Hausas from mainly-Islamic north and ethnic Yorubas from predominantly-Christian southwest. November – More than 200 people die in four days of rioting stoked by Muslim fury over the planned Miss World beauty pageant in Kaduna in December.
2003 April – President Olusegun Obasanjo elected for second term. August – Inter-communal violence in the Niger Delta town of Warri kills about 100 people, injures 1,000.
2004 May – State of emergency is declared in the central Plateau State after more than 200 Muslims are killed in Yelwa in attacks by Christian militia; revenge attacks are launched by Muslim youths in Kano. August-September – Deadly clashes between gangs in Port Harcourt prompts strong crackdown by troops. Rights group Amnesty International cites death toll of 500, authorities say about 20 died.
2006 January onwards – Militants in the Niger Delta attack pipelines and other oil facilities and kidnap foreign oil workers. The rebels demand more control over the region’s oil wealth. February – More than 100 people are killed when religious violence flares in Muslim towns in the north and in the southern city of Onitsha.
2007 April – Umaru Yar’Adua of the ruling People’s Democratic Party is proclaimed winner of the presidential election. September – The rebel Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) threatens to end a self-imposed ceasefire and to launch fresh attacks on oil facilities and abductions of foreign workers.
2008 February – Mend leaders Henry Okah and Edward Atata extradited from Angola on suspicion of involvement in attacks on oil companies. Report that Okah was subsequently killed in custody proved to be untrue. September – Militants in the Niger Delta step up their attacks on oil installations, in response to what they describe as unprovoked attacks by the military on their bases. November – At least 200 people are killed during clashes between Christians and Muslims in the central Nigerian town of Jos.
2009 January – The main militant group in Niger Delta, Mend, calls off four-month cease-fire after army attacks camp of an allied group. May – Niger Delta militant group Mend rejects government offer of amnesty and declares offensive against Nigerian military. July – Hundreds die in northeastern Nigeria after the Boko Haram Islamist movement launches a campaign of violence in a bid to have Sharia law imposed on the entire country. Security forces storm Boko Haram’s stronghold and kill the movement’s leader.
Government frees the leader of the Niger Delta militant group Mend, Henry Okah, after he accepts an amnesty offer. August – Two-month offer of a government amnesty for Niger Delta militants comes into force.
2010 January – At least 149 people are killed during two days of violence between Christian and Muslim gangs in the central city of Jos. March – More than 120 people are killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians in the flashpoint city of Jos. October – Nigeria marks 50 years of independence. Celebrations in Abuja marred by deadly bomb blasts. November – Nigeria intercepts arms shipment from Iran, reports find to UN Security Council. December – Christmas Eve bomb attacks near central city of Jos kill at least 80 people. Attacks claimed by Islamist sect Boko Haram spark clashes between Christians and Muslims. Some 200 killed in reprisal attacks.
2011 March – Goodluck Jonathan wins presidential elections. 2011 July – The government says it wants to start negotiating with the Boko Haram Islamist group blamed for a series of recent attacks across northern Nigeria. August – Suicide bomb attack on UN headquarters in Abuja kills 23 people. Radical Islamist group Boko Haram claims responsibility. November – At least 63 people are killed in bomb and gun attacks in north-eastern town of Damaturu. Boko Haram claims responsibility. December – Nearly 70 people are killed in days of fighting between security forces and Boko Haram militants in north-eastern states of Yobe and Borno. Christmas Day bomb attacks kill about 40 people. Boko Haram claims responsibility. President Jonathan declares state of emergency to contain violence by Boko Haram.
2012 January onwards- Fuel price strike causes major disruption. Unions suspend action when government reverses decision to drop fuel subsidies. More than 100 killed in single day of co-ordinated bombings and shootings in Kano, shortly after Boko Haram tells Christians to quit the north. A campaign of bombing, scattered murders and unprovoked violence keeps the north in a state of insecurity.