Of Forensics & Fighting Boko Haram.

The Boko Haram insurgency in the North eastern part of the country can be described as a crime against humanity because the sect’s activities carry the features of such and also carry genocidal tendencies. The sect’s ideology which is to establish an Islamic caliphate is such that all opposition to it is met with brutal violence. The sect’s mode of achieving this has been assassinations, bombings, systematic wiping out of people of other beliefs and recruitment of child soldiers.

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In the light of this, forensic science can be of great significance in stopping this sect. Forensic science, which is a multidisciplinary field involving chemistry, psychology, archaeology, accounting, is a field that thrives on facts and evidences in order to prosecute offenders. For this deadly sect to be stopped, principles of forensic science must be employed.

A major aspect of forensic science that must be employed is forensic archaeology. This is because forensic archaeologists are trained experienced in using archaeology principles to solve crimes. The add value to forensics because of their techniques in discovering crime scenes and the systematic method of recovering evidence. Boko Haram sometimes bury the victims of their menace in mass graves. Forensic archaeology will come into play when recovering the remains from the graves and also the evidences buried in the grave– like bullet casings. Forensic archaeologists have been involved in this in countries like Rwanda and Yugoslavia where mass graves were located.

Another area where forensic science will help in solving this sect’s menace is the use of forensic anthropology. Forensic anthropology deals with identifying the victims as well as their manners of death. This information will be significant in prosecuting the perpetuators in the court of law because the crimes and the victims will thus not be treated in abstract.

Another field of forensic science that will be significant is forensic chemistry. This subfield is important because it usually links the perpetuator to the crime scene through evidences that will be analysed in the laboratory. Because of the sect’s use of guns and explosives, the study of such will be done though the ballistic analysis. Ballistic analysis, which is a subfield of forensic chemistry, will seek to know the types and properties of explosives the sect uses. Therefore, the origin of such explosives can be traced.

Furthermore, the sect has been discovered to use controlled substances like cocaine and heroin. Forensic chemistry can also be used to determine the origin and properties of the drugs. The result of this can thereafter be used in sentencing the sect’s members.

Terror activities are usually capital intensive because weapons have to be purchased and for other logistical activities. Thus, forensic accounting is significant in fighting insurgency. Because the financial activities of terrorist groups are usually are usually discrete (discreet), it is usually difficult to unravel their source of funding. However, with forensic accounting, the source of their finance and channelling routes can be exposed. In doing this, seemingly innocent organisations can be linked to terrorist activities. This aspect of forensics is usually employed by intelligence agencies such as the CIA to fight terrorists groups like Al-Qaeda.

The use of forensic botany can also be used in fighting the insurgency. This is effective in the events of mass graves. Forensic botany will be able to determine whether the location of the mass grave is the primary crime scene or the secondary crime scene. This will be done by analysing the plant materials such as pollen grains (which are almost indestructible) and other plant materials. Forensic botany, through the analysis of pollen grains found on the victims will also determine the season of death. The results of these analyses can then be compared with the timeline of the sect’s activities in order to have an effective sentencing in the court of law.

In addition, forensic psychology will be very significant in fighting the insurgency. Forensic psychology will seek to examine and analyse the motive and state of mind of the perpetuators. With this, a sequence can be formed and thus, helping to prevent further attacks. Forensic psychology will also be important in ‘de-brainwashing’ the child soldiers that have been recruited by the sect and also in rehabilitating the victims of the sect’s activities.

In conclusion, it can be determined from the above points that forensic science investigation is very important in fighting ‘Boko Haram’ insurgency. The evidences that will arise from forensic science investigations will be highly valuable in convicting the perpetuators of crimes against humanity.

NB: This was an exam question and I felt I should reproduce my answer here, verbatim. What would you score me?

Also, ballistics analysis doesn’t include explosives.

Photo credit: http://www.stpeterslist.cm

Hakeem.

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4 responses to “Of Forensics & Fighting Boko Haram.

  1. It’s insightful…. Very insightful. Funny you are expecting to be scored, as if you don’t know that people will score you to the limits of present knowledge of the subject. Your “real score” is that given by your lecturer. He has in mind exactly what he expects from you guys according to the knowledge he has ditched across. I miss you!

  2. can some one sight an instance were forensic has been used to fight boko haram and culprit caught through forensic techniques please also sight the technique applied as well as the procedure grateful for your answers please

    • The deployment of forensic science to fight the Boko Haram terror has been skeletal, at best. The news is usually saturated with gunfights between the military and the terrorists. However, one major source of forensic evidence to nab and prosecute Boko Haram members is their camps that have been raided by the army. These camps are usually littered with personal effects from which evidence such as DNA and fingerprint can be gleaned. Also, forensic linguistics can be used on the suspects to determine a pattern of speech and/or writing. These procedures are usually not made public.
      Thanks for your comment.

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