The Nigerian group Boko Haram is part of a new generation of Islamist extremists. It was founded in 2002, but received only limited, periodic attention until April when it kidnapped more than 200 girls after raiding a school in northeastern Nigeria and threatening to marry the girls off or sell them as slaves. Some girls escaped, but many are still missing.
Journalist Alex Perry wrote a recent cover story for Newsweek about the group and the new e-book The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, published by Newsweek. He says Boko Haram doesn't have logical reasons for the atrocities it commits.
"If you're looking for logic and clarity and well-thought-out strategy in a group like Boko Haram, you're going to come up wanting," Perry tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This is not smart jihadi thinking. These guys are really badly educated. They're dumb, essentially."
Perry is a contributing editor for Newsweek and served as a bureau chief in Africa and India for Time. His forthcoming book is The Rift: The Future of Africa.
He talks about Boko Haram's founder, its current leader and how the group tries to justify the many violent acts it commits, including beheadings.