Monday, February 6, 2012

Al-Qaeda's Involvement in Nigeria

I had recently posted about all the police in Kano, Nigeria, "disappearing" after terrorist attacks specifically targeting the police. Now it appears that the Boko Haram are being trained by Al-Qaeda.
The radical Islamist group, based in northern Nigeria, once specialised in robbing banks and attacking defenceless Christian congregations. In the past month, however, its gunmen or suicide bombers have struck 21 times, killing at least 253 people.

The Daily Telegraph understands this transformation has come about partly because of the help Boko Haram has received from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a branch of the international terrorist network based in the Saharan states of Mali, Niger and Algeria.

Boko Haram demonstrated its new potency on Jan 20, when at least 100 of the movement's fighters executed eight assaults in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, overwhelming the security forces and killing 185 people.

This operation bore all the hallmarks of al-Qaeda: a mixture of suicide bombers and gunmen, some in police or army uniform, carried out multiple, carefully coordinated attacks on hard targets.

Boko Haram destroyed two police stations and the regional police headquarters, and damaged the local office of the State Security Service, Nigeria's version of MI5.
This raises the issue of whether Al-Qaeda is truly down and out, or has just shifted to working as terrorist "consultants."

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