Boko Haram is a radical Islamist movement so-called first by the people in Maiduguri, Nigeria, where it was formed. Its name broadly translates as "fake education is forbidden", which has now come to refer specifically to western education.
Its main aim is to establish a pure Islamic state goverened by Sharia law and it disputes the current Christian president's leadership.
Boko Haram was founded in 2002 by Muslim cleric Mohammed Yusuf and was initially concerned with stopping children attending schools it deemed too westernised.
Many Muslim families sent their children to its school at a religious complex set up my Yusuf which, over time, became a recruiting ground for soldiers.
Despite the death of Yusuf in 2009, the group has carried out a number of attacks which have resulted in countless deaths. The USA has labelled it "an emerging threat" with ties to Al-Quaeda, which Boko Haram denies.