Oren Dorell --- USA Today
Boko Haram, with its chilling brutality, radical Islamic ideology and unstoppable seizure of Nigerian territory is quickly emerging as the Islamic State of Africa.
While much of the world has focused on the terror attacks in Paris and the Islamic militants' capture of swaths of Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram has gone on a bloody rampage through northeastern Nigeria.
Human rights groups have sounded alarms about the al-Qaeda-linked organization's recent brutality: the slaughter of up to 2,000 people in the Nigerian towns of Baga and Doron Baga on Jan. 3 and the subsequent strapping of explosives on girls as young as 10 to detonate in public places.
Boko Haram first gained international notoriety for its savagery in April 2014, when it abducted 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok and threatened to sell them as wives and sex slaves. The "bring back our girls" movement began with Nigerian village women demanding government action and grew into a worldwide rallying cry, with participants that included first lady Michelle Obama. Some of the girls later escaped but the fate of remaining captives is unknown.
In addition to its ruthless tactics, Boko Haram, echoes the Islamic State in its aspiration to create a "caliphate" across national borders by crossing into neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon. On Monday, its fighters seized the Cameroonian border town of Kolofata. Cameroon's government said its forces killed 143 militants.