Time and Location

Wednesday, 11 June 2014, 19 - 21
Afro-Asiatisches Institut, Türkenstraße 3, 1090 Vienna


Panel discussion with:

Zainab Ahmed Mohammed, journalistin Deutsche Welle, Nigeria/Deutschland
Bashir Alhaji-Shehu, Visiting Lecturer at University of Vienna,
Association of African Students in Austria, Nigeria/Österreich
Rüdiger Lohlker, Professor for Oriental Studies, University of Vienna
Gerald Hainzl, Peace and Conflict Researcher, Austrian Defense Academy, Vienna
Chair: Téclaire Ngo Tam, Afrika Vernetzungsplattform, Kamerun/Austria

Welcome: Franz Schmidjell, VIDC

Languages:German and English

Boko Haram

© iStock


The word “Boko” (Hausa) means knowledge and education in the western sense of the words. “Haram” (Arabic) stands for everything ‘unIslam’ and forbidden. For five years the members of Boko Haram have committed terrorist strikes in Nigeria, in which thousands of people have died. In April 2014, in the Northern Nigerian city of Chibok, they kidnapped more than 200 girls. Further bombings shocked the West African country and its citizens, which number over 170 million. Around half of the population is Muslim, the others Christians. 
The Nigerian government answered with a mix of military force and amnesty proposals. Yet the approach of Boko Haram and its terror could not be stopped. In the face of the new escalation François Hollande invited the Nigerian president Jonathan Goodluck and representatives from Nigeria’s bordering countries Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Benin to a safety summit. Experts doubt that the agreed-upon military and secret service measures will be able to solve the problem.
Which causes have driven the rise and growth of Boko Haram? How is their ‘success’ with the local power politics connected to the expert-criticized failures of the state? How is Boko Haram financed and what connections do they have to other Jihadi groups in West Africa? What political solutions are there?


Zainab Ahmed Mohammed

is a journalist for the radio Deutsche Welle and lives in Bonn.  She grew up in Adawama State, in northeastern Nigeria, and studied Journalism and law at the University of Maiduguri (Borno State). Mohammed worked as a news reporter for the radio broadcaster ABC Yola before she began her work for Deutsche Welle, where she oversees the Hausa news service. In that capacity she also works as the coordinator of the education program Learning by Ear, which tackles the topics gender and future for Africa’s youth.

Rüdiger Lohlker

is a professor of Oriental Studies on the linguistic-culture faculty of the University of Vienna. After he received his doctorate in 1997 he held a teaching position at the University of Kiel as well as the University of Göttingen (1999-2000). His research topics include: contemporary Islamic thought, Islamic rights, the Arabic world and Islam online, modern Islamic movements, and Jidhadism.

Bashir Alhaji-Shehu

is a guest lecturer for Hausa Conversations at the University of Vienna. Between 2009 and 2011 he wrote his Master’s Thesis on “Ethno-Religious Violence in Northern Nigeria.” He began his collegiate education at the University of Maiduguri in northern Nigeria, then studied at the University of Lagos. From 2004-2006 he worked with the Movement for African Refugees in Nigeria (MAREN). Alhaji-Shehu is a member of the Association of African Students in Austria (VAS).

Gerald Hainzl

works at the Institut für Friedenssicherung und Konfliktmanagement (IFK) of the Austrian Defense Academy (LVAk) in Vienna. He is the author of numerous analyses and studies of African conflict regions such as Mali, Chad, and South Sudan as well as international crisis management. He has made research trips to Somalia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Botswana, and Ghana. His current focus lies in West Africa, in the developments of safety politics in the Sahel area.

Téclair Ngo Tam

is an educational consultant for the Südwind Agency. She received a BTS (Brevet de Technicien Supérieur) in Higher Administration at the IUT (Institut Universitair de Technologie), Duala-Camaroon. Afterwards she studied Public Relations and Communication at the University of Vienna. Since 1997 she has been an educational consultant and project leader at various Austrian development policy organizations. Téclaire Ngo Tam is a board member of the Africa Vernetzungsplattform in Austria (AVP).