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Nigeria's Terrorist Problem.

Interesting Article: Bloody weekend; 66 killed as Boko Haram wreaks havoc by EMEKA MAMAH / Nigeria published Sunday, November 6, 2011

This weekend, Nigeria was dealing with deadly bomb and gun attacks, including two suicide blasts targeted at police stations, an army base and churches in three northern states that led to the death of 66 people. The Islamic group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the attacks. The attackers reportedly bombed their targets, and then took on the security forces in gun battles. Residents said gunfire rang for several hours across the city after the explosions. An AFP reporter who visited the morgue said most of the dead appeared to be policemen. So who is the Boko Haram?



Boko Haram is a Nigerian Islamist group that seeks the imposition of Shariah law throughout the whole of Nigeria. The official name of the group is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad." As of 2011 it is thought to be responsible for "increasingly violent and sophisticated attacks", with at least 327 people killed in 2011 through November 6 according to the Associated Press. Boko Haram opposes not only Western education, but Western culture and modern science as well. In a 2009 BBC interview, Mohammed Yusuf, then the group's leader stated that he would reject the fact that the earth is a sphere if it was contrary to Islamic teachings, along with Darwinism and the fact that rain comes from water evaporated by the sun. Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf formed Boko Haram in 2002 in Maiduguri. Mohammed Yusuf was a Muslim sect leader born in Girgir village, in Yobe State, Nigeria. Yusuf was killed by Nigerian security forces in Maiduguri, Borno State, after being taken into custody, allegedly while trying to escape from prison. He established a religious complex that included a mosque and a school. Many poor families from across Nigeria and from neighboring countries enrolled their children in the school, which also served as a recruiting center for jihadis to fight the Nigerian state. After Yusuf’s death, the group broadened its mission to impose Islamic law not just in the north but also throughout Nigeria. It began a campaign of strategic violence, including political assassinations, attacks on police and federal security installations, and a series of bombings. In the past year, the city of Jos in Plateau State, east of Abuja, has emerged as the frontline of the battle between the Boko Haram and Christian militants. The group includes members who come from neighboring Chad and speak only in Arabic. Boko Haram’s activities have been contained to Nigeria’s north. But unconfirmed reports indicate that Boko Haram members had arrived in Warri state in the Niger Delta with intentions of bombing oil facilities. If the group manages to disrupt Nigeria’s oil output, the impact would be felt globally. U.S. military officials were growing anxious about possible links between Boko and established Islamist terrorist groups. Carter Ham, the U.S. military's commander of operations in Africa, told the Associated Press on April 17, 2011 that multiple unnamed sources indicated that Boko Haram had made contact with operatives from AQIM and with the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. A partnership between Boko Haram and AQIM, which operates in close proximity to Nigeria in Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Algeria, could explain the increased sophistication of recent Boko Haram attacks. The benefits for Boko Haram in teaming up with AQIM might be an influx of money and expertise — but also an international profile that would give it credibility as it attempts to recruit more followers and further scare a nervous Nigerian government. An alliance would have a corresponding benefit for al-Qaeda, which has made the southern expansion of its African operation a priority since Algeria — its former major target — began cracking down on the group in 2008. A partnership with the efficient Boko Haram could perhaps give AQIM a foothold in one of Africa's most important, volatile countries. Although Boko Haram's exact size is hard to pinpoint, it likely has around several thousand supporters and at least 300 militant members who are available for armed actions, says Dr. Peter Lewis, director of the African-studies program at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. But the global terrorism community will now be watching the group's every move, especially for evidence that it might be morphing into a new branch of a terrorist group that has so far had little impact in non-Arab West Africa. What the future holds for Nigeria is still uncertain, but all action should be taken to curb this group before they can cause more death and carnage.

References:
Boko Haram is battle for 2015, says Chukwumerije by Ogbonnaya Obinna. The Nation . 29/09/2011
allAfrica.com: Nigeria: We Are Responsible for Borno Killings, Says Boko Haram
"Terrorism in Nigeria: A dangerous new level". The Economist. 2011-09-03.
"Nigeria policemen in court trial for Boko Haram killing". BBC News. 2011-07-13.
GAMBRELL, JON (2011-11-5). "Nigeria: Boko Haram Suicide Attack Killed Dozens". Huff Post World.
Chothia, Farouk (2011-08-26). "Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists?". BBC News.
"Nigeria's 'Taliban' enigma". BBC News. 2009-07-28.
Africa. London, England: BBC. 2009-07-26. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
Johnson, Toni (2011-08-31). "Backgrounder: Boko Haram". Council on Foreign Relations.
AFP - Nigerian forces shell sect leader's home, mosque[dead link]
Deadly Nigeria clashes spread, Al Jazeera, 2009-07-27
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2091137,00.html#ixzz1d1lqUdAV

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