Sunday, November 27, 2011

Unity and Faith, Part 5

We continue our consideration of events in Nigeria. In Part 1 we looked at the broad political situation there, paying attention to the North/South divide in Nigerian politics. In Part 2 we saw how that North/South divide is, in large part, a Muslim/Christian divide. In Part 3, we considered in greater depth the religious aspect of violence in Nigeria, including accusations of police abuses - abuses which seemed to target Muslims more than Christians.

In Part 4, we saw a report from 2009 about how the leader of Boko Haram was captured in an operation by security forces, and then died in police custody. We went on to see how, though economic disparity is often blamed for unrest, Boko Haram has its base among an educated middle class, and its leaders themselves claim their motivation is Islam; we also saw how, in Nigeria's corruption, northern Muslim elites were the main perpetrators. Then, we saw how Boko Haram claimed earlier this year that their militants had arrived after training in Somalia, and Boko Haram was threatening attacks that would be both wider and fiercer than their previous attacks, which, as of 2009, they were saying were going to make Nigeria ungovernable. Finally, we began to look at Boko Haram's international connections, and introduced the smuggling operations involving Nigeria, including the movement of heroin from South Asia.

We now look at more recent developments, including connections between Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations, and accusations of connections between Boko Haram and government officials. We begin with Boko Haram claims al-Qaeda links, November 24, 2011:

Kano - A purported spokesperson for Islamist sect Boko Haram claimed on Thursday that the group, blamed for attacks including the suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Nigeria, has links with al-Qaeda.

"It is true we have links with al-Qaeda," the man identifying himself as Abul Qaqa told reporters in a phone conference in the Hausa language spoken throughout Nigeria's mainly Muslim north.

"They assist us and we assist them."

This is nothing new. We previously saw how Boko Haram had claimed to have people trained in Somalia, and, in general, we have in many posts considered how ideology, like contraband, moves across the Sahara and Sahel in Africa - it is not surprising if al Qaeda has connections with Boko Haram.

Skipping down:

The group is believed to have a number of factions with varying aims. Nigeria's secret police alleged this week that some Boko Haram members have links to politicians following the arrest of another alleged spokesperson for the group.

Abul Qaqa refuted the secret police claims during the phone conference.

For information on the alleged links to political leaders, we consider Boko Haram: How SSS established case against Senator Ndume from November 27, 2011:

The Department of State Service (SSS) appears to have established a strong connection between the detained Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume and the former spokesperson of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga (a.ka Al-Zawahiri).

Information pieced together by Sunday Vanguard, at the weekend, suggest that part of the evidence the SSS has assembled against the senator is what a security source described as "the two-way communication link, via telephone between the senator and the man known as Al-Zawahiri". It was learnt that the "connect is so strong that even the attempt by the senator's wife to address a press conference on Friday afternoon had to be quickly thwarted by the senator himself."

"When it was discovered that the woman (wife) was attempting to address the press on the matter of the detention of her husband", the source continued, "it was impressed on the husband that should such a press conference be addressed, the Department would go to town with details of its findings which allegedly link the senator to Al-Zawahiri.

"At that point, the man had to make a quick contact with the wife, putting a halt to the move for a press conference".

Sunday Vanguard was also made to understand that whereas further investigations were still on, "the evidence we have suggests that when the Police Headquarters was bombed, it was the same Al-Zawahiri who announced to the world claiming responsibility on behalf of Boko Haram and we also believe that, prior to that incident, the two men had communication or were in contact."

"If that is fully established, the puzzle we are attempting to solve is why the senator did not alert the authorities; but the investigations continue", the security source disclosed.

The allegations go so far as to suggest that Senator Ndume had prior knowledge of a terrorist attack, and did nothing. Farther down in the article, political leaders were interviewed about this issue. Generally, they called for honest investigations and a fair judicial process, seeking to avoid a media circus. (Oh, that our own political leaders in America had such wisdom and integrity!)

As touched on above, though, Boko Haram is denying connections to Senator Ndume. From Boko Haram threatens to attack PDP, CPC, ACN, others •Warns landlords to eject political parties •Denies links with Ndume •Boko Haram will end soon —Jonathan •JTF recovers 2 explosive devices in Maiduguri, November 25, 2011:

MEMBERS of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, have said that they have no dealings with Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, who was arrested in Abuja early this week for allegedly sponsoring the movement, according to various reports which they claimed they read on pages of newspapers.

Speaking in a telephone interview with the media in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Thursday, spokesman for the sect, Abu Qaqa, who relayed the message to the press on behalf of the chief spokesman, Abu Dardam, said that the Yusufia movement was a religious sect, as such its members had no business with politics as being insinuated in government circles and among security agencies.

Qaqa further said that long before now, they were aware that Usman Al-Zawahiri, who was arrested and charged to court along with Ndume, was working for the State Security Service (SSS) and as such, what is happening is only a gimmick. He said that in order to prove to the world that the sect had no interest in politics or politicians, its next step was going to be attacks on all political party offices from national to the state levels.

He said the sect also read what the state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Baba Basharu, had been saying about how the movement came into being. According to him, everybody knew what the sect stood for and no politician or political party was associated with it in any way. Therefore, for lying about them, he said Alhaji Basharu had been marked for death.

Speaking on whether the sect had links with Al-Qaeda, Qaqa said wherever Muslim groups which shared the same ideology and were working for the cause of Allah, his sect was with such groups, saying whoever felt that his group had links with Al-Qaeda, based on their ideology in promoting Islam and fighting to free their people from Western claws, was right. But he insisted that any group that did not have his sect’s kind of ideology was not part of them and his sect was not with such a group. He said it was for that reason his group was insisting that it had no links with any political party; be it ANPP, PDP, ACN, CPC and others.

Making good on these threats, Boko Haram has recently targeted Geidam in the northern Nigerian state of Yobe.

We now review Boko Haram bombs Yobe, November 27, 2011:

Churches, homes and the police headquarters in the small northeast Nigerian town of Geidam of Yobe state were set ablaze in a wave of night time gun and bomb attacks by the radical Islamist sect, the police said on Sunday.

Boko Haram, whose name translates as "Western education is forbidden" from the local Hausa language, has claimed responsibility for dozens of shootings and attacks with improvised explosive devices this year.

The Hausa, a Sahelian people in Nigeria's north, are one of the country's major ethnic groups. They have communities in Niger and as far away as Sudan and Cote d'Ivoire. Boko Haram's roots among them may help explain connections to foreign terrorist organizations: the organizations would be foreign to Nigeria, but perhaps not to the Hausa.

Also, Boko Haram clarified the meaning of its name. In Part 4 we quoted an article from Niberia's Vanguard which quotes a statement made by Boko Haram:


For the first time since the Killing of Mallam Mohammed Yusuf, our leader, we hereby make the following statements.

1) First of all that Boko Haram does not in any way mean "Western Education is A sin" as the infidel media continue to portray us. Boko Haram actually means "Western Civilisation" is forbidden. The difference is that while the first gives the impression that we are opposed to formal education coming from the West, that is Europe, which is not true, the second affirms our believe in the supremacy of Islamic culture (not Education), for culture is broader, it includes education but not determined by Western Education.

Continuing with Boko Haram bombs Yobe:

"The Geidam divisional police headquarters and First Bank were bombed on Saturday evening by Boko Haram and fire was exchanged into the night between police and Boko Haram members," a police spokesman told reporters.

"Four policemen were killed, 20 wounded, eight churches and 20 market stalls as well as Geidam council secretariat are completely destroyed."

Geidam is a small town in Yobe state, which straddles the Nigeria-Niger border, and is the home of the powerful state governor. Boko Haram often targets politicians, who the sect say are corrupt and have left the northeast region impoverished.

Boko Haram's attacks have mostly taken place in and around Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, which borders Yobe state and neighbouring countries Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

A boost in military numbers in recent months in Borno has pushed the sect's attacks further afield, security sources say.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for an attack in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe, earlier this month that left at least 65 dead. It was also behind two bombings in the capital Abuja this year, the latest in August, a suicide attack at the U.N. building which killed 26 people.

Notice that one of the targets was a bank. From Boko Haram threat: Bauchi banks now close 2pm, dated November 11, 2011:

Bauchi— Commercial banks in Bauchi State are now panicking following alleged reports that members of the Boko Haram sect planned to bomb the financial houses in the state to protest the alleged freezing of the accounts of their late founder, Mohammed Yusuf, by the Federal Government.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent, Mohammed Barau, however, said they were unaware of the development, adding that security had been beefed up in the state to ensure safety of life and property.

Sources said that there had been panic withdrawals even as customers now visit their banks very early for business.

Boko Haram's attacks and threats of more are indeed inducing terror among the intended victims, and this most definitely includes the economic sector.

Next, we consider an excerpt from Page 10 of Key Issues in Nigeria's 2011 Elections, dated March 29, 2011, by Sola Tayo. The paper addresses Nigeria in the run-up to the recent elections, but I claim that the same dynamics are at play even now.

Nigeria is often spoken of as having unfulfilled potential. Analysts talk about it eclipsing South Africa to become the continent's largest economy,[5] but such plaudits mean little if a country continues to suffer the effects of poor wealth distribution. Growth needs to be combined with developmental improvement if Nigeria is to be a continental leader. Meaningful efforts to address wealth inequality could be the key to tackling violence; this is blamed on religious differences when poverty is often a bigger factor. Improving the overall quality of life for all Nigerians should mean fewer people feeling disadvantaged or marginalized, and the concept of national unity might be embraced.

However, there is a risk that any sense of national pride and unity will continue to dissipate and people may react to situations according to their religious or regional grouping rather than acting in the national interest. Ordinary, disaffected people are vulnerable to being manipulated into serving the interests of the richer and more powerful, whether in the name of religion or ethnicity. Elements of this manipulation are already evident in conflicts across Nigeria, including over oil, religion and citizenship.

The suggestion is that Nigeria's unrest is due to poor wealth distribution, but I have already made the point that in the case of Boko Haram, the core is middle class and claims Islam, not economics, is the driving force.

But, notice the initial part of the passage, about "unfulfilled potential", and the concluding part, about "manipulation" evident in conflicts over oil. Nigeria already is a regional power, and could become, as mentioned in the passage, a continental leader.

What other (potential) African continental leaders have met a tragic demise just this past year?

Considering now some analysis of the events in Nigeria, we review excerpts from Analysis: What will follow Boko Haram?

MAIDUGURI, 24 November 2011 (IRIN) - Across the road from Maiduguri railway station, in the corner of a now abandoned property, a leafy neem tree provides a canopy for the remains of a mosque flattened by the Nigerian army.

The mosque had belonged to Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad), better known as Boko Haram - loosely translated from Hausa, the lingua franca of northern Nigeria, as "western education is forbidden".

Its destruction followed coordinated attacks by Boko Haram militants against police stations and government buildings in four northern states in July 2009. After several days of fighting, more than 800 people were dead, including the Salafist group's leader, 39-year-old cleric Mohamed Yusuf, killed while in police custody.

Boko Haram's revenge was dramatic. Seen initially as an insular local sect - one of many in the north - it reached out of Borno State, on the fringes of the Sahara Desert, to bomb the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and make common cause with the global Jihadist movement. Western governments are scrambling to provide counter-insurgency training to confront the group, which views the Nigerian state as illegitimate, and demands Sharia law even in the southern half of the country where the majority is non-Muslim.

The rank-and-file Boko Haram have no intentions of working within the political system - not even getting the support of corrupt political leaders who are selling the system out. Their goal is to replace the entire corrupt system, and institute strict Islamic law everywhere, forcing the Christian south into dhimmitude.

But, those who control and manipulate them have a different agenda. In Part 4 of this series, we saw mention of a "northern Muslim élite" that was responsible for much of the corruption. And, this could easily tie in with the allegations against Senator Ndume.

We now examine excerpts from the end of Boko Haram plans to bomb Defence Headquarters - Report dated September 9, 2011:

Illegal immigrants: Customs boss summons state comptrollers

The Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mrs Rose Uzoma, on Thursday, read the Riot Act to the state comptrollers of immigration and other top officers of the service for allowing illegal immigrants into the country and constituting a security risk to the nation.

Mrs Uzoma, who summoned the state comptrollers of immigration service to an emergency meeting in Abuja, on the growing insecurity in the country, was worried that intelligence reports had pointed to the fact that some of the people involved in the recent bomb blasts in Nigeria were foreigners.


Mrs Uzoma, who emphasised that she would no longer tolerate excuses from any of the state comptrollers where there were noticeable lapses, particularly blamed the security lapses being experienced on the officers in charge of the northern states.

This northern Muslim élite clearly has ties in the security forces, and is pulling strings to facilitate the movement of people and contraband across the northern borders. These people include jihadis tied in with international terrorist organizations, and this contraband now includes weapons from Libya's vast arsenal that fell into the hands of the jihadis. But, that's not all.

A November, 2009, NATO research paper entitled An assessment of crime related risks in the Sahel has this to say on page 2 about Nigeria's other connections in the international underworld:

Nigerians, who are notoriously active in the Golden Crescent (Pakistan, India, Afghanistan), work closely with Latin American cartels. Nigeria is still the biggest regional producer of cannabis4, with plantations bringing farmers 200 million dollars and generating profits of 12 billion dollars for traffickers.

Finally, we consider another excerpt from Key Issues in Nigeria's 2011 Elections, Page 10:

If the hopes of the people for fairness and prosperity continue to be held to ransom by the interests of a very powerful minority, Nigeria is at increasing risk of a downward spiral of disenchantment, with potentially disastrous consequences. The uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East show that disillusioned people will only take so much. This has been acknowledged by the Governor of Nigeria's Central Bank, Lamido Sanusi, who warned that events like those in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya could be experienced in Nigeria if developmental issues were not addressed.

This "very powerful minority" includes infidels, to be sure, but it also includes a "northern Muslim élite" tied in to international narcotics-, arms- and human-trafficking, which it uses to finance jihad.

Who in the infidel world benefits from keeping Nigeria in a state of disarray, rather than allowing it to become a continental leader and major player on the world scene?

Perhaps I should rephrase the question.

Who pulled the strings of intervention in Libya and Côte d'Ivoire?

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