Nigeria

France denies complicity

Posted on Updated on

The French embassy in Cameroon has denied any secret activity against Cameroon in its declared war against Nigerian Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, following media reports in the neighbouring country, the embassy condemned attacks by the terrorist militants in northern Cameroon, near the Nigerian border.

France restated its solidarity with the Cameroonian authorities in the fight against the insurgents from Nigeria, African Press Agency reported.

The French government also paid tribute to Cameroonian soldiers killed in combat against Islamist insurgents and “mourned with families of civilian victims and soldiers fighting against terrorism”.

The embassy, contrary to some Cameroonian media assertions which alluded to some behind-the-scene negotiations with Boko Haram, said President François Hollande had not met with Cameroonian officials during his July visit to Chad. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lost Girls

Posted on Updated on

Over the last week or so, multiple stories in the news have been asking why the media is ignoring the kidnapping of more than 200 girls (some reports say as many as 276) by Boko Haram, an extremist anti-Western group in Nigeria. Yet there have been literally hundreds of Facebook posts, thousands of tweets, and dozens of stories in the media about what is going on. It took a week or two — longer than it should have, yes, considering the horror of what has been perpetrated — but in the end, this case has gotten more attention than any single case of girls abducted in armed conflict in recent memory, possibly ever. People are paying attention.

As that becomes evident, all the outcry over “why aren’t we paying attention” starts to look like it’s part of a deeper public distress: Why have we not paid attention in the past when thousands of girls — and boys — have been abducted in armed conflict? Why aren’t we paying attention, right now, to the girls caught in human trafficking webs or sold into early marriages or held in captivity as “wives” by armed groups? Why are we only now outraged? And will this outrage sustain itself as situations like this one unendingly arise? Will any amount of anger lead to any concrete solution? Read the rest of this entry »

The Life of Niger Delta Militant Henry Okah

Posted on Updated on

The Niger Delta province

Publication: Volume: 3 Issue: 4

April 30, 2012 05:43 PM Age: 9 days
Category: Militant Leadership Monitor, Home Page, Featured, Africa

By: Mark McNamee

This article is the Featured piece for the April 2012 Issue of Militant Leadership Monitor. To view the entire issue please visit mlm.jamestown.org.

Henry Emomotimi Okah was born in 1965 and raised in Ikorodu, Lagos State, although his family’s ancestral home was in Baylesa State.  The fourth child of a Navy officer, his upbringing was described by a sibling as very “British”; he attended private schools and led a relatively privileged life. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering from the Maritime Institute and, upon graduation, took a position with the Nigerian Merchant Navy. Prior to his career as an alleged rebel leader, he was a door-to-door handgun salesman in Lagos in the 1990s. Okah is believed to have begun his militancy in the late 1990s and early 2000s; in 2003 he left for South Africa where, aside from his stint in prison in Nigeria, he has remained.  Although he has denied being a rebel fighting with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta  (MEND), Okah has admitted that he is sympathetic to the MEND cause (Mail and Guardian [Cape Town], November, 19, 2010).

According to his brother Charles Okah, Henry’s return to his family’s ancestral home in Bayelsa at the age of 19 was the formative experience in his turn towards militancy. Having witnessed firsthand the marked difference between his upbringing in Lagos State and the endemic poverty in the Niger Delta, he retained these images while a student and in his work after graduation (Vanguard, [Yenagoa], October 25, 2010). Building on his experience and contacts in the Navy, as well as his days as a weapons salesman, he eventually began to direct this background toward ostensibly social and economic ends in the Niger Delta.  Okah bunkered oil and sold it on the black market, using the funds derived therefrom to suffuse the region with weapons; this process eventually gave rise to a loosely organized network of armed rebels.  Over time, these previously disjointed rebels, often hired by Okah and other higher-level militants, as well as politicians, coalesced under the brand name of MEND. This moniker, in actuality, functioned as a catch-all term encompassing various militant groups within the Delta. One MEND leader, Alhaji Dokubo-Asari, noted in 2009 that MEND was created “not as an organization but as a name for the purpose of issuing unified statements” (Sahara Reporters [Lagos], January 1, 2009).

Having helped execute, supply and fund operations in the Delta region from abroad in South Africa, Okah was eventually arrested in Angola while attempting to purchase equipment and arms in September 2007. He was deported back to Nigeria in February 2008 and charged with more than 60 crimes, including treason and terrorism, both of which carry the death penalty. From early 2008, he was held in solitary confinement until his July 2009 release in accordance with an amnesty order handed down by then-President Yar’Adua.  Although initially viewed as an outsider, Okah had gained the respect of Delta militants in the 2000s, and his arrest in 2007 greatly enhanced his prestige with the fighters, bringing him an almost celebrity status within the group [1]. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Boko Haram denies killing hostages as UK, Italy relations boil

Posted on Updated on

The 12 Nigerian states with Sharia law

Image via Wikipedia

On March 10, 2012 · In News

By Uduma Kalu &  Abdallah el-Kurebe with agency report
Diplomatic relations between Nigeria, Britain and Italy may be strained following the botched rescue operation to free two hostages, a Briton,  Chris McManus and an Italian, Franco Lamolinara  at the Mabera area of Sokoto State, Northwest of Nigeria Thursday.

While Italy is furious with Britain for not informing it before the rescue operation, the Italian President  has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to furnish him with detailed information on what actually happened.

This development is coming even as the Boko Haram Islamic sect, accused of the crime has denied any involvement in the kidnap and killing of the hostages.

The group in a message forwarded to the media electronically yesterday afternoon said that it does not engage in such acts of kidnapping.

clip_image001

David Cameron says: ‘Indications are clear that both men were murdered by their captors

Boko Haram’s alleged spokesman, Abul Qaqa said, “following the failed rescue attempt by Nigerian/British intelligence agencies yesterday, Boko Haram has strongly refuted speculation that his group was behind the hostage- taking.
“We have never been involved in such acts of kidnapping. It is a known fact that the group has not denied any act it have been involved in.’’

Read the rest of this entry »

UK hostage executed in Nigeria as special forces close in on Al Qaeda gang’s lair

Posted on Updated on

  • British Chris McManus and Italian Franco Lamolinara were captured by kidnappers in May while working in northern Nigeria
  • Two videos showing the hostages pleading for their lives while under armed guard were released by their captors
  • PM David Cameron authorised the rescue mission as the pair’s lives were in ‘imminent and growing danger’
  • But the kidnappers killed the two men as members of the Special Boat Service and Royal Marine commandos moved in on their hideout

By David Williams and James Chapman

|

A British hostage was killed by his captors in Nigeria yesterday when a UK Special Forces rescue operation ended in tragedy.

Chris McManus was executed by gunmen as members of the Special Boat Service and Nigerian soldiers moved in on the Al Qaeda-inspired terrorists’ hideaway.

Fellow hostage, Italian Franco Lamolinara, was also killed. The pair had been held for ten months.

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW

Captured: British Chris McManus, left, and Italian national Franco Lamolinara, right, in the first video released by their kidnappers in Nigeria in August last year

Captured: British Chris McManus, left, and Italian national Franco Lamolinara, right, in the first video released by their kidnappers in Nigeria in August last year

British hostage: Christopher McManus was killed by his captors today as troops moved in to rescue him amid fears his life was in 'imminent and growing danger'

British hostage: Christopher McManus was killed by his captors yesterday as troops moved in to rescue him amid fears his life was in ‘imminent and growing danger’

Fears for Mr McManus’s welfare had intensified following the release of a video in August showing the 28-year-old engineer blindfolded alongside three armed men.

One of the terrorists said it would be the ‘last message’ to David Cameron about the hostage. Read the rest of this entry »

30 killed in attack on Nigeria market: medic, witness

Posted on Updated on

Location of the four cities in north eastern N...
Image via Wikipedia

KANO, Nigeria — Suspected Nigerian Islamists opened fire and set off bombs at a market in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Monday, killing at least 30 people, a medic and a witness said.

Gunmen believed to be members of the Islamist sect Boko Haram stormed the fish section of Baga market and sprayed stallholders and vendors with bullets, traders said, reporting that women and children were among the dead.

“The number of dead could not be less than 30,” a Maiduguri hospital nurse told AFP.

The military confirmed the assault on the market but denied any civilian deaths, saying security forces had killed eight assailants and safely detonated bombs planted by the attackers. Read the rest of this entry »

Boko Haram Leader Vows More Attacks On Christians | Jih@d

Posted on Updated on

2012/01/15/

by Florian Flade

Imam Abu Bakr Shekau – Boko Haram leader vows more attacks on Nigerian Christians

In 2009 international media for the first time reported about a ominous Islamist group operating in Nigeria – Boko Haram. The group whose name is translated from the Northern Nigerian Hausa language into “Western Eduction is forbidden” carried out a series of attacks, killing dozens of policemen in Christian-dominated regions of Nigeria´s north.

As a result Nigerian security forces took revenge on the Islamists of Boko Haram killing hundreds of the group´s members in and around the city of Maiduguri. Boko Harams leader and founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was captured by security forces. Yusuf had created the Islamist movement in 2002 starting with a network of mosques and Islamic schools to spread Salafi Islam in Nigeria.

Nigerian security forces claimed Mohammed Yusuf was killed during his arrest. Video footage which emerged several days after the raid on Boko Haram showed Mohammed Yusuf alive in custody being interrogated. He was shot dead by Nigerian soldiers and policemen, his body was also seen in videos released later.

Read the rest of this entry »

Terrorist and Colonial Borders | Terrorism In Africa

Posted on Updated on

Terrorism In Africa: Nigerian Ethnic Groups

Terrorism Africa News

It is possible that Nigeria and Somalia will each be divided into multiple countries during this decade or the next.  I could not be surprised if it happens sooner than later.  Each country is in the midst of violence that was primarily perpetrated by terrorist groups.  In each case the central government is ineffectual in managing security and delivering the needed services to the poorer districts.  If we do witness the partitioning of these countries we will be well on our way to seeing the redrawing of many national boundaries on the continent.

Over the past sixty years African countries have struggled to gain independence from their colonial rulers.  That process took close to fifty years.   South Africa was the last to achieve such a righteous milestone.  Yet, this independence was for countries who borders were set by the colonialists and looked very little like the kingdoms and ethnic domains recognized by Africans for centuries.  The continent may well be on the verge of a redrawing of the demarcations of sovereign states to more accurately represent the realities of the continent.  It could be said that the movement to throw off colonial borders may have begun with the division of Ethiopia, resulting in Ethiopia and Eritrea, followed by Sudan splitting into Sudan and South Sudan.  These divisions were preceded by violent conflicts and referendums.

Al-Shabaab claims to be a jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda with the agenda of placing all of Somalia under Sheria.  Few analysts would differ with that description.  The ability of Al-Shabaab to take control and place all of present day Somalia under Sharia is questionable.  In fact the current struggle in Somalia has spawned several ad-hock meetings of diaspora Somalians who have drawn up plans that would result in Somalia being divided into three countries separated primarily along ethnic or clan lines.

Boko Haram has its genesis and base of operation in the poor, Muslim north of Nigeria.   They have bombed Christian houses of worship, government and United Nations instillations and recently demanded that government troops and southerns leave the north.  Their terrorist operations have brought Nigeria to the brink of civil war.  Read the rest of this entry »

Boko Haram

Posted on Updated on

Author:
Toni Johnson, Senior Editor/Senior Staff Writer
Location of the four cities in north eastern N...
Image via Wikipedia

Update: December 27, 2011


Introduction

Boko Haram, an Islamist religious sect, has targeted Nigeria’s police, rival clerics, politicians, and public institutions with increasing violence since 2009. Some experts say the group should primarily be seen as leading an armed revolt against the government’s entrenched corruption, abusive security forces, strife between the disaffected Muslim north and Christian south, and widening regional economic disparity in an already impoverished country. They argue that Abuja should do more to address the issues facing the disaffected Muslim north. But Boko Haram’s suspected bombing of a UN building in Abuja in August 2011 and its ties to regional terror groups may signal a new trajectory and spark a stronger international response that makes it harder to address the north’s alienation.

Birth of Boko Haram

Mohammad Yusuf, a radical Islamist cleric, created Boko Haram in 2002 in Maiduguri, the capital of the northeastern state of Borno. The group aims to establish a fully Islamic state in Nigeria, including the implementation of criminal sharia courts across the country. Paul Lubeck, a University of California professor studying Muslim societies in Africa, says Yusuf was a trained salafist (CSMonitor) (a school of thought often associated with jihad), and was strongly influenced by Ibn Taymiyyah, a fourteenth century legal scholar who preached Islamic fundamentalism and is considered a “major theorist” for radical groups in the Middle East.

Boko Haram colloquially translates into “Western education is sin,” which experts say is a name assigned by the state. The sect calls itself Jama’atul Alhul Sunnah Lidda’wati wal jihad, or people committed to the propagation of the prophet’s teachings and jihad.” Some analysts say the movement is an outgrowth of the Maitatsine riots of the 1980s (AfricaToday) and the religious/ethnic tensions that followed in the late 1990s. Many Nigerians believe Yusuf rejected all things Western, but Lubeck argues that Yusuf, who embraced technology, believed Western education should be “mediated through Islamic scholarship,” such as rejecting the theory of evolution and Western-style banking.

Before 2009, the group did not aim to violently overthrow the government. Yusuf criticized northern Muslims for participating in what he saw as an illegitimate, non-Islamic state and preached a doctrine of withdrawal. But violence between Christians and Muslims (al-Jazeera) and harsh government treatment, including pervasive police brutality, encouraged the group’s radicalization. Human Rights Watch researcher Eric Guttschuss told news service IRIN that Yusuf gained supporters “by speaking out against police and political corruption.” Boko Haram followers, also called Yusuffiya, consist largely of hundreds of impoverished northern Islamic students and clerics as well as university students and professionals, many of whom are unemployed. Some followers may also be members of Nigeria’s elite. Read the rest of this entry »

Nigeria Christmas Day bombings: Boko Haram terror attacks indicate deep threat to country’s stability

Posted on Updated on

Dec 25, 2011 – 3:03 PM ET

REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

A car burns at the scene of a bomb explosion at St. Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla, Suleja, just outside Nigeria’s capital Abuja, December 25, 2011. Five bombs exploded on Christmas Day at churches in Nigeria, one killing at least 27 people, raising fears that Islamist militant group Boko Haram – which claimed responsibility – is trying to ignite sectarian civil war.

By Tim Cocks

LAGOS — Christmas Day bomb attacks against churches in Nigeria by Islamist militant group Boko Haram targeted the country’s religious and ethnic faultlines in an apparently escalating campaign to fracture the nation’s stability.

The shadowy group from Nigeria’s Muslim north, blamed for dozens of bombings and shootings in recent years, said it was responsible for a string of blasts, three of them in churches, including one that killed at least 27 people at a packed Christmas service on the outskirts of the capital Abuja. Read the rest of this entry »