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Al Qaeda moving into Nigeria!

Interesting Article: "Al-Qaeda creates terrorists’ base in Nigeria" by Tribune / Nigeria published Monday, March 12th, 2012.


An interesting article mentioned that the terrorism challenges facing Nigeria may have been complicated by credible reports indicating that Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb has established an operational base in the North-Western part of the country to source for funding through high-profile hostage business. This is coming at a time the United States Department is said to be considering adding the Boko Haram sect to the official list of terrorist organizations in the world. Would you like to know more?


Reliable intelligence sources disclosed that the old Sokoto axis is now home to a very violent arm of Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, which, during the last week, claimed responsibility for the bombing of the headquarters of the Algerian-led joint military command fighting the group in the Sahel region.
Contrary to reports that it was Boko Haram that kidnapped the hostages, Nigerian Tribune learnt that Maghreb group had shifted attention to Nigeria to expand its hostage taking operations, which was said to account for large part of Al-Qaeda operational fund worldwide.

According to the source, more foreigners may be targeted in the North with possibility of extension into some southern zones, because of the belief that Nigeria is a centre for big foreign construction and oil operations.

Reports had indicated that between 2010 and 2011, the Maghreb Al-Qaeda raked in close to fifty million dollar in ransom payments from kidnapped Europeans, part of which were reportedly contributed to the worldwide jihadist movement.

Most of Nigeria is unaffected by the movement. Despite the departure of frightened Christians to the south, most of the country is not perturbed. When killings have taken place in the north, Muslims moved to protect churches and Christians reciprocated by sending people to protect mosques. The Muslim north is much poorer than the Christian south, held back for over a century by conservative clerics and leaders. Education is poor, health clinics are scarce and youth unemployment is high. One does not find the rip-roaring economic progress prevalent in the south. Without the drag of the north, Nigeria would have a double-digit economic growth rate.

This poverty has contributed to the rise of Boko Haram, although the president makes the valid point that there are many countries with dire poverty, including Muslim ones, where there is no political violence.

Al-Qaeda has always exploited the ungoverned territory of failed Muslim states to set up its training camps and terror cells – which explains why Yemen and Somalia have recently emerged as new centers. More recently, al-Qaeda sympathizers have been actively seeking to exploit for their own ends the wave of anti-government protests that have swept the Arab world. They were involved in the overthrow of Libya’s Gaddafi regime last year, and are known to have been participating in anti-government protests in Syria.

The al-Qaeda network is tenacious in its pursuit of new, safe territory from which it can pursue its radical Islamist agenda, and the fact that the Nigerian government is struggling to exert its control over the Muslim states in the country’s north makes them an attractive proposition. The group’s ability to exploit such opportunities in the Muslim world certainly makes a compelling argument in favor of Britain and its Nat allies maintaining their military commitment to Afghanistan until the task of stabilizing the war-torn country has been completed.
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References:
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1144158--terrorism-casts-pall-over-nigeria-s-progress
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/9133749/Nigeria-al-Qaedas-new-heartland-of-terror.html



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