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Conflict Weekly
Continuing Kidnappings in Nigeria

  IPRI Team

Conflict Weekly #219, 15 March 2024, Vol.5, No.11
An initiative by NIAS-IPRI

Narmatha S and Vetriselvi Baskaran

Continuing Kidnappings in Nigeria
Narmatha S and Vetriselvi Baskaran

In the news
On 3 March, at least 200 internally displaced people (IDP), predominantly women and children, were taken hostage by suspected Boko Haram from the Babban Sansani, Zulum, and Arabic IDP camps in Borno state. 

On 7 March, armed men, locally known as bandits, attacked the Local Government Education Authority School in Kuriga town. According to the Chikun Local Government, quoted by BBC, more than 280 students were abducted by the gunmen. The kidnappers have demanded a ransom of NGN one billion within 20 days.

On 10 March, Al Jazeera reported on the abduction of 15 students from a boarding school in northwestern Nigeria. They were kidnapped from the hostel in Sokoto state. 

On 8 March, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu commissioned the security and intelligence agencies to review the rescue process, stating that he would ensure “justice is served against the perpetrators of these abominable acts.”

On the same day, UNICEF condemned the attack. UNICEF Nigeria’s director, Christian Munduate, stated: “Schools are supposed to be sanctuaries of learning and growth, not sites of fear and violence,” and urged the government for immediate action.

He added: “This latest abduction, as any previously, is highly condemnable and part of a worrying trend of attacks on educational institutions in Nigeria, particularly in the northwest, where armed groups have intensified their campaign of violence and kidnappings.”

Issues at large
First, the abductors and abductees. Across Nigeria’s six geographical zones, ransom kidnappings are increasingly common. The hotspots are the states of Zamfara, Kaduna, Borno and Niger. These regions are isolated from government control and most of them are under the control of either local chiefdoms or insurgent groups. Groups, including Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa Provinces (ISWAP), active in the Northwest and Northeast of Nigeria, began the kidnapping culture in 2014. Currently, it is adopted by the bandits who come in motorcycles and carry out mass abductions for ransom. The abductees are predominantly vulnerable sections of society, including the IDPs staying in camps, women, and school girls. 

Second, a brief note of abductions in Nigeria during the last decade.  The first major incident took place in 2014 when 276 girls were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state, by Islamic militants belonging to the Boko Haram. Their objective was to institute an Islamic Caliphate in Nigeria. Later, 57 students escaped, some were rescued by Nigeria’s security forces, and some returned two years later. In 2021, in a series of abductions, the bandits kidnapped nearly 500 children from different schools and colleges in the states of Zamfara, Kaduna, and Borno. Many of the abductees escaped from the trucks and camps, a few were killed, some were released once the ransom was paid, some were rescued through government negotiations, and several of them remain missing to date. From July 2022 to July 2023, around 3620 people were abducted, with a demand of USD 6.4 million. 

Third, the state response. About 4,500 people have been kidnapped since President Tinubu took office in May 2023. Nigeria has criminalised paying ransoms in 2022 to not encourage further abductions. However, the effectiveness of the law is debated as the Nigerian military forces struggle to fight the kidnappings. Additionally, there are several cases of abductees being released but no cases of abductors being arrested. In terms of local response, the military forces are backed up by the local policemen and the state’s vigilance services. Amnesty International claims that the inefficacy of the Nigerian authorities in preventing the perpetrators through security lapses is the main reason for the rise in abductions. The economic recession, which is accompanied by poverty, the increasing cost of living and unemployment, are additional causes of an increase in the number of bandits and abductions. According to BBC, the annual average inflation rate has reached 30 per cent. The cost of food has risen by 35 per cent.

In perspective
First, the government’s inability to address the issue. The government has failed to address and tackle the situation due to corruption and inadequate law enforcement. It is unequipped to provide military training. 

Second, the abductions in Nigeria have become a trend since 2014. This trend is being picked up by neighbouring countries, implying a spillover effect. In neighbouring Cameroon, during the first week of March, separatist fighters abducted and killed four government workers. In December 2023, eight boys were kidnapped by separatists from a school in the conflict-hit northwest region. On 8 March, in Chad, a Polish doctor was kidnapped and rescued later. In Mali, on 27 February, three Italian citizens, who were kidnapped in 2022 by an Islamic militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), were released.


Issues in Peace and Conflict This Week:
Regional Roundups

Akriti Sharma, Vetriselvi Baskaran, Akhil Ajith, Anu Maria Joseph, Femy Francis, Padmashree Anandhan, Dhriti Mukherjee, Shamini Velayutham and Narmatha S

East and Southeast Asia
Taiwan: Defence ministry redefines first strike definition against China
On 12 March, the Chinese Ministry of National Defence updated its definition of “first strike” to include any warplane or vessel incursion into its territorial space. This highlights a shift from the Taiwanese military’s traditional rule of engagement, where the armed forces are authorised to respond after an enemy has fired a first shot, a missile or artillery shell. Taiwanese Minister of Defence, Chiu Kuo-cheng, stated: “We should not rashly provoke war, but we must strengthen combat readiness.” A military expert at Taiwan’s Institute for National Defence and Security Research (INDSR), Chen Liang-chih, explained that China’s gray zone tactics to intimidate Taiwan are increasing daily, as the former is erasing the median line concept and moving close to Taiwan. 

China: Manila must not invite other countries to intervene in SCS disputes, says Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson
On 11 March, the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, stated that the countries concerned with territorial disputes in the sea, including resource exploitation, must not undermine China’s overall interests in the South China Sea (SCS) nor invite extraterritorial countries to intervene. He added that the Philippines and China should handle the dispute carefully. Philippine ambassador to the US, Jose Manuel Romuadez, responded: “When the time comes that we are going to start exploring it, we’ll have the options to be able to see how we can secure the expedition.” He added that Manila was “working closely” with its allies, “not only the US but also Japan and Australia.” 

Taiwan: “Chinese forces trying to "normalise" drills near Taiwan,” says NSC
On 11 March, the Director-General of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, Tsai Ming-yen, claimed that China runs "joint combat readiness patrols" near its islands every seven to ten days, alleging that the Chinese forces were trying to "normalise" drills near Taiwan. He added that China dispatches around ten warplanes and three to four naval ships during the joint patrols near Taiwan, referring to them as a “multi-front” effort that includes economic coercions and a misinformation campaign to pressure the island country. Tsai highlighted that the patrols coincided with diplomatic events including visits by foreign lawmakers. He pointed out that Beijing is carrying out a carrot-and-stick approach toward Taiwan ahead of the upcoming new president's inauguration speech in May 2024.

South Korea: Government to send licence suspension notices to protesting doctors
On 10 March, the Straits Times reported that the South Korean government would complete sending licence suspension notices to thousands of trainee doctors after 90 per cent of them did not report to work in February. This was following the protest against the government's plans to increase the enrollment of foreign medical students. According to the South Korean government, the proposal aims to ease the burden on doctors and to provide more doctors in rural areas. However, the protestors claimed that this would not solve the issue and demanded changes in the malpractice system with more protection given to physicians. The public has been siding with the government and criticising the protestors.

Australia: China to suspend death sentence to Australian writer
On 11 March, China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, stated that the suspended death sentence given to Australian writer, Yang Hengjun, in February 2024 would not be carried out if the blogger committed no further crimes. He stated that the “suspended sentence from a Beijing court on espionage charges does not entail immediate execution for Yang,” and added that he would be excluded from being executed if Yang complies with the imprisonment terms. Yang has not appealed against the court’s verdict and denied all wrongdoings of working as a spy. His family has described him as a political prisoner.

South Asia
Maldives: Fisherman backlogs worth over MVR 250 million cleared
On 11 March, Maldivian President, Mohammad Muizzu, stated that the holdings of fishermen's dues which were inherited from the previous government had been paid. It totalled over MVR 250 million and the disbursement was delayed due to strikes in February. Muizzu stated on X: “With the disbursement today, the fishermen have been paid all their dues as of Friday, and the backlog has been cleared in its entirety.” The disbursement was then confirmed by the fisheries minister. 

Sri Lanka: Indian fishermen arrested for trespassing
On 10 March, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested Indian fishermen near Neduntheevu for trespassing in the area while fishing. The arrested fishermen, including two from the Karaikal district of Puducherry and 13 from the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu, were taken to the Kankesanthurai Naval base along with their mechanised boats. The incident has sparked concerns over repeated attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan authorities, with calls for swift diplomatic action to address the issue and ensure the safety and livelihoods of the affected fishermen.

India: Protests against implementation of CAA
On 11 March, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notified the Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024, enabling the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by Parliament in 2019. Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated on X: “These rules will now enable minorities persecuted on religious grounds in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to acquire citizenship in our nation. With this notification PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji has delivered on another commitment and realised the promise of the makers of our constitution to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians living in those countries.” 

On 11 March, copies of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) were burnt in parts of Assam by representatives of indigenous communities’ organisations. Headed by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), 30 organisations urged people to oppose the contentious Act. AASU President Utpal Sarma contended: “The CAA, which threatens the language, culture, and existence of the Assamese people, cannot be accepted at any cost. We will hit the streets against this Act and challenge it in the court.” The Opposition Alliance, consisting of 16 political parties and led by the Congress, declared a statewide non-cooperation movement beginning on 12 March. 

On 12 March, the Hindu reported that several Muslim organisations have unanimously called for the repealing of the CAA, terming it as a “discriminatory legislation” that undermines the principle of equal treatment under the law. The signatories included representatives from the  Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, Milli Council, and Imarat-e-Shariah. They claimed that by excluding Muslims, the Act violated the principles of equality and secularity enshrined in the Constitution by granting citizenship selectively based on religious affiliation. 

On 12 March, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released a press note clarifying that “no Indian citizen would be asked to produce any document to prove his citizenship after this Act.” The MHA added that Indian Muslims and their citizenship status would remain unaffected. The ministry added that concerns regarding the Act targeting Muslim minorities are unfounded as CAA is not concerned with deportations. 

Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa
Israel: Strikes result in casualties 
On 10 March, an Israeli shelling resulted in the killing of 13 Palestinians who sought refuge in the city of Khan Younis. Similarly, an air strike on the Nuseirar refugee camp killed 13 people including women and children. On the same day, the Israeli strike targeted one of Rafah’s residential buildings; however, no causalities were reported. During the attacks on the Deir el-Balan in central Gaza, five people were killed. 

Lebanon: Israeli strikes and Hezbollah’s retaliation
On 12 March, Israeli airstrikes targeting the Ballbek-Hermel area in eastern Lebanon resulted in one causality and wounded ten others. Four Syrian nationals were among the wounded. On 11 March, Israel launched air strikes near Lebanon’s eastern city of Baalbck. The security forces asserted that it was the second raid carried out in the region since cross-border hostilities began after the Israel and Hamas war.  On 10 March, Hezbollah claimed that it fired dozens of rockets into northern Israel to retaliate against Israel’s strikes that killed five of its group members. Hezbollah added that it had launched “dozens of katyusha-type rockets” on the Israeli village of Meron.

Lebanon: Israel carries out logistics supply drill
On 12 March, the Israeli forces asserted that it carried out a “logistics supply drill” as part of its preparations for a “potential ground offensive” in Lebanon. Meanwhile, according to the Israeli army, during the exercise, the forces practised delivering equipment, water, and fuel. It added that the drill included “loading and unloading equipment from Air Force aircraft and transporting equipment using vehicles on the ground” to the front lines.

Yemen: Houthi rebels fire anti-ship ballistic missiles
On 12 March, according to the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM), the Houthis fired “two anti-ship ballistic missiles” at a Singaporean-owned and Liberian-flagged ship called Pinocchio. CENTCOM  reported that in response to the attack on Pinocchio, the US forces asserted that it carried out six “self-defence strikes” in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and destroyed an unmanned underwater vessel and 18 anti-ship missiles. 

Libya: Rival parties agree on unified government
On 11 March, BBC reported that the President of the Libyan Presidential Council and the leader of the Benghazi-based administration had agreed to form a new unified government to supervise the long-delayed elections and “unify sovereign positions.” The talks between these rival governments were held under the leadership of the Secretary of the Arab League, General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, in Cairo. Libya was engulfed by a civil war in 2014 after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The civil war split the country between the internationally recognised government in the west, led by interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah in Tripoli, and the administration in the east backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi.

Somalia: US’s action to destroy Al Shabab
On 11 March, the US Department of the Treasury announced that it would support Somalia in its "campaign to degrade this deadly terrorist group,” referring to Al Shabab. The department added that the Al Shabab militant group, which controls vast regions of Somalia, has been renamed as a "transnational money-laundering network.” The move is to reduce attention given to the group as an Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group.

Somalia: Cargo ship hijacked at the coast of Somalia
On 12 March, the armed pirates attacked a cargo ship in the Indian Ocean, which is 600 nautical miles off the Somalian coast. The cargo travelling from Mozambique to the UAE was attacked by nearly 20 armed men. No group has taken responsibility. The Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin have become hotspots of piracy, where nearly 20 hijackings have taken place since November 2023.

Mozambique: Storm Filipo kills four people
On 12 March, the BBC reported on the storm Filipo that hit the Inhambane province in southern Mozambique. Four people were killed and one was injured in the violent storm. The roads, schools and houses have been reportedly damaged. The storm hit the tourist spots of Tofo and Barra, where several tourist boats were damaged. The communication lines, electricity, and internet facilities have been adversely affected by the storm. 

Europe and the Americas
Ukraine: US to give grants for stopgap military package 
On 12 March, US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, announced a stopgap package of military aid worth USD 300 million for Ukraine, amid additional funds for Ukraine remaining blocked by Republican leaders in the Congress. He claimed that the funding was from unanticipated cost savings from Pentagon contracts, and stated: “This ammunition will keep Ukraine's guns firing for a period, but only a short period.” However, it is only enough for a couple of weeks and “is nowhere near enough to meet Ukraine's battlefield needs and it will not prevent Ukraine from running out of ammunition.” As per Pentagon Press Secretary Major General, Pat Ryder, the package included anti-aircraft missiles and artillery rounds, and a one-time situation which was not a sustainable method of funding Ukraine. 

Cyprus: First aid ship to Gaza 
On 12 March, ‘The Open Arms,’ a Spanish ship with 200 tonnes of essential food supplies for Palestinians in Gaza, departed from Cyprus. The success of the Spanish ship could prompt several European and Emirati efforts to get much-needed aid into Gaza. On 8 March, the European Commission President, Ursula Von Der Leyen, announced the possibility of starting a maritime corridor to Gaza. Israel appreciated the maritime corridor initiative and called on other countries to join. In a press conference in Cyprus, Von Der Leyen stated that given the situation of “humanitarian catastrophe,” a maritime corridor was pertinent to deliver aid in mass. US President Joe Biden commented that aid to Gaza would make a “massive difference” for humanitarian workers. He added: “Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip.” The UN called for aid to enter Gaza after stating that a quarter of Gaza’s population was on the edge of famine.

Venezuela: Attorney general announces arrest of opposition leader’s close ally
On 9 March, Venezuelan Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, announced that a regional campaign leader for opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, Emill Brandt Ulloa, would be arrested for taking part in violent demonstrations against the government in January and alleged conspiracy. While presidential elections have been scheduled for 28 July, there is uncertainty about who would be the opposition coalition’s candidate after the top court banned Machado from running. Machado claimed that this move was contrived by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government, to protect him from a viable challenger. She warned on 9 March that the Maduro government had allegedly “kidnapped” Ulloa. Referring to the arrest, Saab’s office stated that they wanted to avoid the anarchy seen in Haiti, adding that Ulloa would be charged with gender-based violence and insulting an official.

Haiti: Update on the crisis
On 11 March, Haiti’s Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, announced that he would step down, following an emergency meeting of neighbouring countries. He stated: “The government that I am leading will resign immediately after the installation of [a transition] council.” He asked “all Haitians to remain calm and do everything they can for peace and stability to come back as fast as possible.” At the time of the announcement, Henry was in the US territory of Puerto Rico after being prevented by the gangs from returning to Haiti. He was supposed to step down and conduct elections on 7 February, and his failure to do so led to spiralling gang violence. On 11 March, the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) called for an emergency summit of Caribbean, North American, and European leaders and envoys, as more foreign diplomats, including EU staff, were evacuated from Haiti. The CARICOM Chairperson and Guyanese President, Mohamed Irfaan Ali, said that the talks sought to bring “stability and normalcy” to Haiti despite Haitian stakeholders not being “where they need to be.” He warned: “Time is not on their side in agreeing to the way forward.” US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, promised USD 100 million for a UN-backed force to stabilise the situation in Haiti. According to US State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, Blinken “reiterated the United States’s support for a proposal developed in partnership with CARICOM and Haitian stakeholders to expedite a political transition through a creation of a broad based, independent presidential college.”

Canada: Government announces resumption of funding to UNRWA 
On 8 March, the Canadian Minister of International Development, Ahmed Hussen, stated that the Canadian government was “resuming its funding to UNRWA so more can be done to respond to the urgent needs of Palestinian civilians.” The government faced criticism for its previous decision to cut assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) following allegations that several staff members were involved in the 7 October Hamas attacks. The agency immediately sacked the concerned employees after the “shocking” allegations, while the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, appointed an independent investigation panel. Several countries, including the US, reduced funding to the UNRWA, which is the key agency providing humanitarian supplies to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Humanitarian groups warned that cutting funding would have considerable repercussions for Palestinians affected by the war in Gaza, and asked countries to reverse their decision.

The US: Intelligence agencies warn of “increasingly fragile global order”
On 11 March, the 2024 Annual Threat Assessment report was issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence of the United States of America. The agencies warned that the country “faces an increasingly fragile global order, strained by great power competition, transnational challenges and regional conflicts.” It accused “an ambitious but anxious China, a confrontational Russia,” Iran, and other non-state actors of “challenging longstanding rules of the international system as well as US primacy within it.” The report cited Russia’s war in Ukraine and how trade between Russia and China has been increasing. It pointed out the possibility of China attempting to “influence the US elections in 2024 at some level because of its desire to sideline critics of China and magnify US societal divisions.” Further, the report cited the potential regional spillover of the war in Gaza, which could have a “generational impact on terrorism” since both “al-Qaeda and ISIL [ISIS], inspired by Hamas, have directed supporters to conduct attacks against Israeli and US interests.” About Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza, the report noted how the “distrust of Netanyahu’s ability to rule has deepened and broadened across the public from its already high levels before the war.”


This Week in History
14 March 1849: The Sikh Army surrenders to the British
LS Hareesh

On 14 March 1849, the Sikh army surrendered to the British after the Second Anglo-Sikh War.

Following the First Sikh War (1845-46), tensions between the Sikhs and the British East India Company continued to escalate. The British appointed Sir Henry Lawrence as a Resident at Lahore to control the Sikh royal court and influence policy. This move caused resentment among the Sikh nobles and generals and Maharani Jind Kaur, the mother of the child ruler Maharajah Duleep Singh, who had sought to regain her former influence as Regent. In addition to the political conflicts, there was a sense of betrayal among many Sikhs who believed they had been defeated rather than genuinely conquered in the First Sikh War. The Sikh soldiers were also disgruntled with their role in maintaining order and implementing policies on behalf of the British. 

The situation escalated further with the revolt at Multan. Diwan Mulraj Chopra, the governor of Multan, rebelled against the replacement ordered by the British, resulting in the murders of Lieutenant Patrick Vans Agnew and Lieutenant William Anderson by an angry mob, triggering the Second Sikh War (1848-49). Sikh soldiers deserted their regiments and joined the rebellious sirdars, further fueling the conflict. The British reinforcements arrived in November 1848, allowing them to besiege Multan and secure it in January 1849. Mulraj surrendered, and the British marched north to join forces with General Hugh Gough for the decisive Battle of Gujerat in February 1849. This battle marked the culmination of the war, with the Sikh forces suffering a major defeat. The remaining Sikh army surrendered at Rawalpindi on 14 March 1849.

After the annexation of Punjab in 1849, Maharaja Duleep Singh was deposed. Kohinoor diamond was taken from Duleep Singh and placed in the British royal crown. He was later exiled to Britain and lived there for most of his life, with only two brief visits to India. His mother, the Regent, was replaced by a new Council of Regency under the direction of the British Resident. The British Empire officially annexed the Punjab and the North-West Frontier on 29 March 1849. The remnants of the Sikh leadership, including Chattar Singh and Sher Singh, were initially placed under surveillance and later imprisoned. They were released from confinement in 1854 but permanently exiled from the Punjab.

The annexation of Punjab led to the recruitment of Sikhs into the British military. Despite the victory, the British casualties, particularly in battles like Chillianwala, undermined their reputation and subsequently emboldened those who rose against British rule in the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The recruitment of Sikhs and other religious and social changes contributed to the grievances and tensions that led to the rebellion. 

The Sikh surrender played a role in reshaping the status and dynamics of Jammu and Kashmir. The British appointed Gulab Singh, a Dogra ruler, as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir; the latter signed the Treaty of Amritsar with the British. As per this treaty, the British recognized Gulab Singh as the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, making it a princely state under British suzerainty. This treaty granted the Dogra ruler control over significant parts of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Kashmir Valley. The region comprising present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, subsequently became the North West Frontier of the British, where they established a centralized administration system and imposed their rule. This led to changes in administration, land management, and the introduction of British laws and institutions, including the tribal regions that became the buffer between British India and Afghanistan. The British attempt to control the region led to three wars with Afghanistan.


12 March 1930: Mahatma Gandhi starts the Dandi March. And shakes the British Empire
Sounak Ghosh

On 12 March 1930, Mahatma Gandhi started the 24 days-long march from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, which ended on 6 April. With 78 supporters, Gandhi marched 386 kilometres from the ashram to the seaside town of Dandi, located in Navsari district, Gujarat.

The march to Dandi, the Salt Satyagraha as it was referred to widely, was a direct action campaign and a nonviolent protest. It was a protest against the British salt monopoly, which implemented high tariffs on salt production and barred Indians from collecting or selling salt independently. Though it started against the salt tax, it expanded to include other unpopular tax regulations, including the forest laws, chowkidar tax, land tax etc. 

The march resulted in the arrest of more than 60,000 people by the British including Gandhi, but the Satyagraha continued. He stated during a speech in Sabarmati “I wish that there should be no suspension or abandonment of the war that commences tomorrow morning or earlier, if I am arrested before that time. I shall eagerly await the news that ten batches are ready as soon as my batch is arrested.” 

At the end of the March Gandhi declared, "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire."


10 March 1957: Osama bin Laden born in Riyadh
Shreya Jagadeesan

On 10 March 1957, Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh. His father, Muhammad bin Laden had built a huge construction company and had close ties to the ruling elite in Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden studied economics and management at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. 

In 1979, he joined the jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. During the 1980s, he recruited volunteers from the Arab countries to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. In 1988, he created al Qaeda.

After the end of Soviet occupation, he returned to Saudi Arabia, where he had developed differences with the government, resulting in settling in Sudan by 1991. In 1996, Sudan expelled Osama, resulting in the latter settling in Afghanistan. During the 1990s, al Qaeda grew under his leadership and was engaged in multiple terrorist activities, especially against the US and its resources across the world. The biggest one was the attack on the US soil on 9 September 2011.

Post 9/11, the US invaded Afghanistan and started hinting al Qaeda leadership and Osama bin Laden. After years of search, the US intelligence established Laden living in a compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan. In a midnight air raid from Afghanistan, the US Special Forces killed him on 2 May 2011.


About the authors
Akriti Sharma is a PhD Scholar at NIAS. Padmashree Anandhan and Anu Maria Joseph are Research Associates at NIAS. Femy Francis, Dhriti Mukherjee, Akhil Ajith and Shamini Velayutham are Research Assistants at NIAS. Vetriselvi Baskaran, Narmatha S and Navinan GV are Postgraduate Students at the University of Madras. Shreya Jagadeesan and Sounak Ghosh are Undergraduate Students at the Department of International Relations, Peace, and Public Policy at St Joseph’s University (SJU) in Bengaluru.

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