It is pertinent that we note that terrorism is not a “nowadays” affair. It is a primordial activity that predates the contemporary civilization.
            While global attention is focused on embassy bombing, aircraft waking and 9/11 terrorist –attack kind of terrorism, equally devastating terrorist activities with equally devastating terrorist are daily swept under the carpet in Africa1.
            In order to enhance better understanding of the historical development of suicide bombing and terrorism, we shall not deal with suicide bombing as a separate concept of terrorism. It shall henceforth be viewed as part of terrorism.

           According to Dr. Boaz Ganor2, “Suicide attacks are not a new phenomenon and they have exponentially increased over the past two decades. May countries all over the world have been forced to contend with the phenomenon of suicide attacks”. Dr Ganor further stated that “Radical Islamic activities chose this method for attacking civilian and military targets in various countries, such as turkey (hectinya, Irag, Britain, USA, Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, India etc.      
            Suicide attacks have clearly become the most dangerous modus operandi of modern terrorism3. It is the newest stage in the development of bombing attacks, which have been used by terrorist for many years. The typical type of bombing attacks carried out in the 1970s and 1980s were time bombs.
            In bombing attacks, the perpetrators would snuggle and plant the explosives in their targeted milieu and then wait outside the targeted environs until lots of people gathered near the bomb-centred area. Only then would they detonate the incendiary object. The suicide attack on the other hand and like the smart bomb, is the most sophisticated tactic used by terrorist organizations since it provides timing and location of the attack (which were the flaws of bombing attacks) and therefore, produces the maximum number of casualties and damage4.   
            Suicide attacks were experienced during the period of the cold war as Dr. Ganor puts it;

            Interestingly enough, however, what occurred during   the       Second World War as a sub-intended or quasi-        suicidal condition had by the time of the cold war,       with nuclear weapons on both sides, crystallized into           institutional suicidal behaviour and led to adoption of  
            suicidal doctrines by both sides. Because as we all know and there is no point in dwelling on this at length here it is the predicament of nuclear deterrent             stragies that they depend on the mutual threat of suicide. In its purest form this is known as “mutual assured destruction” and in its popular form as “the balance of terror”5.  

            Terrorism has been on the international agenda since 1934, when the League of Nations took the first major step towards outlawing the scourge by discussing a draft convention for the prevention and punishment of terrorism. Although the convention was eventually adopted in 1937, it never came in force6. This however suggests that terrorism is not a recent activity. It has been in existence from time immemorial. Historically, it has been noted that suicide attackers have been used by both secular and religious groups. The Tamil tigers, a secular group carried out most ruthless campaign of suicide attacks in the 20th century, but causalities internationally, notably as a result of attacks by Palestinian groups against Israelis and by organizations in various countries believed associated with or incited by Al Qaeda7.  
            It will be necessary if we know that terrorist activities were not historically carried out by men alone. The use of women as suicide attackers is not historically unprecedented, but its frequency among groups such as the Sir Lankan Tamil Tiger (or LTTE), the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and now the Palestinian Fatah- affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Chechens, may indicate a social broadening of the phenomena. While organization is predominant in the execution of the attack, over time it cannot recruit and sustain itself without the acquiescence of the larger soceity8.  

            As we have seen so far, phenomenon of suicide attacks/terrorism have a lengthy pedigree. For example, among the earliest groups that have been toughly studied, the Muslim Assassins (also known as Ismalis- Nazaris) operated from 1090-1275, C. E9. They prepared their members to die in the execution of an attack, deliberately seeking martyrdom as they used daggers to kill their victim10. They (the assassins) assured themselves publicity by attacking prominent officials in public places, usually on holy days when there were many witnesses11. The group’s

description of the assailants as “fedayeen” (meaning consecrated ones or dedicated ones) and their admiration for martyrdom in the course of  killing is an often cited historical precursor for some of the suicide attacks by Islamic terrorist organization seen today12.

            Another historical example of the use of suicide attacks is found among Muslim communities in Asia during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly on the Malabar Coast of southwestern India, in Atjeh in Northern Sumatra, and in Mindanao and Sulu in the Southern Philippines. Muslims in these regions engaged in suicidal Jihads aimed at inflicting punishment and instilling fear among European colonial powers. In all these places, the perpetrators engaged in religious rituals prior to carryout the attacks, aspired to a perceived heroic status of martyrdom, and carried out their killings as religious acts intended to serve the interest of their own community. In each case, a shift to the use of suicide attacks followed a period of unsuccessful open warfare against the militarily much stronger Europeans. The suicidal jihad against civilians was seen as a means desperate counter attach and even a means of keeping awareness of the cause alive13.

            It seems we have dwelt so long on the historical development of terrorism in other continents making Africa a saint free from the exponential “malady” of terrorism. This is not true. Terrorism in Africa as it is in other continents like Asia and Europe, has had a long history from the Sherifian dynasty of the Alawites and Filali in Morocco to the regencies of Algeria,Tunisia and Libya under the effete suzerainty of the sultan of turkey, the Berber- Arab population of North Africa experienced one form of terrorism after another, even before colonial rule. The French invasion of Algeria in 1930, the establishment of French rule in Morocco in the 1900s and their occupation of Tunisia in 1880 were all characterized by one terrorist act after the other. The journeys of independence in most countries of Africa were also strewn with one act of terrorism after the other. In countries of East Africa most especially Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, international terrorism coalesced in the bombing of US, embassies in 1997. In Southern Africa, notably South Africa, Botswana, Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, apartheid orchestrated terrorism as important state policy. The West and central Africa may not have had embassy bombing or the 9/11 type terrorist attacks, they have nevertheless witnessed cases of aircraft hijacking, hostage taking and other mind-boggling terrorist actions. The 1921 Oke-Ogun uprising involved commando-like guerrilla tactics and bush-action, which ensured the decimation of more than ten thousand souls in three weeks Jesse and Odi events in Nigeria are two examples of state terrorism, which have placed Nigeria in the global terrorist map. Post-independence Africa today ranks seventh in global terrorists’ incidence, third in global terrorists’ injuries and fourth in global fatalities recorded between 1997 and 2007. Africa, unarguably, is no stranger to terrorism14.

            In the light of the above brief history of terrorism globally, it can be deduced that terrorism did not start today. And if enough caution is not taken, the world will be but at the mercy of terrorism. Linus Ifeanyi in an article presented on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 entitled “The Impact of Terrorism” in Nigeria in view of the recent Attacks by Boko Haram”, stated that “the word terrorism was first used in France to describe a new system of government adopted during the French revolution (1789- 1799). From that time on, terrorism has had a decidedly negative connotation. The word, however, did not gain wider popularity until September 11, 2001, when Osama Bin Laden masterminded a terrorist attack on united state”.                                              

            Terrorism summarily has had an ancient pedigree. But aroused international or global consciousness after the September 11th (2001) incidence by the Osama led Al Qaeda insurgent group at the world Trade Centre. Before the 9/11 (as the world trade centre incidence is popularly called), most terrorist activities were carried out by freedom fighters. This freedom fight could be to protect one’s religious belief, to protect one’s civil right, to maintain one’s superior position in race, ethnicity and religion.

            It has been observed historically that the first acts of what we now call terrorism were perpetuated by a radical offshoot of the zealots, a Jewish sect active in Judea during the 1st century AD15. The Zealots resisted the Roman Empires’ rule of what primarily involved assassination. Zealot fighters’ enemies in broad daylight, often in crowded market places or on feast days-essentially wherever there were people to witness the violence. The Jewish Zealots used terrorism to resist the Romans by killing many Roman soldiers and destroying Roman property between 1090 and 1272 an Islamic movement known as the Assassins used similar tactics in the struggle against the Christian Crusaders who had involved what is today part of Syria16. The Assassins     
embraced the same notions of self-sacrifice and suicidal martyrdom evident in some Islamic terrorist groups today. They regarded violence as sacramental or divine act that ensured its perpetrators would ascent task (Rapport 1981). There is a popular lore among the southern Nigerian Christians, though apocryphal, that “jihadists” believe that when they die in the course of executing their sacred obligation in a Jihad will be made comfortable in heaven and will be given seven virgins as wives.

            Until the French revolution (1789-1799), religion provided the main justification for the use of terrorism17. This situation changed however as nationalism anarchism, Marxism and other secular political movements emerged during the 1800s to challenge divine rule by monarch 18. Modern terrorism was initially antimonarchical embraced by rebels and constitutionalist during the late stages of the French revolution and in Bussia by the peoples will (Hoffman 1998). In the 18th century the world terrorism (as has been stated earlier) was first used in France to describe a new system of government adopted during the French Revolution (1789-1799). During this period, Maximilien Robespierre of France introduced government sponsored terrorism in order to maintain                         

Power and suppress opposition to the government19. The regime de la terreur (Reign of Terror) was intended to promote democracy and popular rule by ridding the revolution of its enemies and thereby purifying it. However, the oppression and violent excesses of the terror transformed it into a feared instrument of the state (Hoffman, 1998).
            From that time on terrorism has had a decidedly negative connotation. Meanwhile, the word, did not gain wider popularity until the early 20th century when it was adopted by a group of Russian revolutionaries during the soviet revolution in 1917 to describe their violent struggle against tsarist rule. Thus, Lenin and Stalin, evolved government sponsored terrorism as a useful tool to maintain government control. These two important persons intimidate and frighten the entire society. According to them, both terror and fear were veritable instruments for governmental operations (Danlibo, 2009).
            In Abimbola’s view20, during the 1920s and 1930s, terrorism became associated more with the repressive practices employed by distortional states than with the violence of non-state groups like the anarchists. The wanton violence and intimidation inflicted by the Nazi, [8]fascist, and totalitarian regimes that respectively came to power in Germany, Italy,  and soviet union. The repressive means these governments employed against their citizens involved beatings, unlawful detentions, torture, so-called death squads (often consisting of off-duty or plan clothes security or police officers), and other forms of intimidation such practices by governments against their own citizens continue today.
            Recent history records the use of such measures by the military dictatorships that took power in Argentina, Chile, and Greece during the 1970s. But these state-sanctioned acts of violence are more generally termed terror to distinguish them from violence committed by non-state entities.
            It is however noteworthy that modern terrorism especially right from the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s and up till the 1990s has taken different trends and dimensions21.
Having known the history of terrorism globally, we shall be coming to the history of terrorism in Nigeria.                

1 Adeyemi, Bukola, Oyeniyi Terrorism in Nigeria Groups, Activities, and politics, A. B. Oyeniyi vol. 1, vol1 Quertery 2010  
2 Founder and executive director, international policy institute for counter-terrorism (ICT)
3 Ibid pg 5
4 Ibid pg 6
8 Ibid pg 17
9 Ibid  Pg 3
10 David Rapprot, “Fear and Trembling”. Terrorism in three Religious Traditions, American Political Sceince Review, Vol. 78, No.3 (September 1984) pp. 658-677 
11 Ibid pg 665
12 Ibid pg 666
13 Stephen F. D. “Religious Suicide in Islamic Asia Anti-colonial terrorism in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines”, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 32, vol. March 1988) pp. 37-59   
14 Adeyemi, B. O., “Terrorism in Nigeria, groups, activities, and polices”, Int’l Journal of Politics and good governance, vol.1, No.1.1 Quarter 2010   
15 Abimbola J. O. (et al) “Domestic Terrorism and Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, issues and trends A historical Discourses” Journal of Arts and cotemporary society, vol.4 September 2012, pg. 12     
16 Ibid pg 12
17 Ibid 12
18 Ibia 12
19 Ibid 13
20 Ibid 13
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