Nigeria: Where The Cure Is Worse Than The Disease

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November 25, 2013: In the north there are growing complaints that pro-government militias are acting as violently as the soldiers they are working with. The vigilantes are accused of killing unarmed civilians in rural areas while searching for Boko Haram camps. The rural villagers are suffering more from the Boko Haram raids and support army efforts to find and eliminate the Boko Haram in the area, but with the Nigerian security forces, the cure is often worse than the disease. The Islamic terrorists have become a growing problem in rural areas. For example, Boko Haram men have taken to kidnapping Christian women and using them as “wives” (after first forcing them, under threat of death, to convert to Islam). Christians have been fleeing the northeast for over a year but many are too poor to do so and are subject to attack by Boko Haram. The months of military operations in the northeast have chased the Islamic terrorists out of the cities and towns and forced them to set up camps in the hills near the Cameroon border. From here Boko Haram raids local communities for food and other supplies. In effect the army has forced Boko Haram to go from being urban terrorists to rural bandits.

The feud between Boko Haram and Islamic terrorist rival Ansaru is becoming more public, with criticisms of Boko Haram appearing on pro-terrorism websites. Ansaru (for Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan or "Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa") is a Boko Haram splinter group that has become more active since declaring its existence in 2012. Ansaru objects to the Boko Haram tactics of killing lots of Moslems and wants to concentrate on just killing foreigners or non-Moslem Nigerians. It is unclear how large Ansaru is and how much violence within Boko Haram, if any, will result from the split. Ansaru appears to be very small, perhaps only a few hundred members, and more interested (than Boko Haram) in working closely with Islamic terror groups operating elsewhere in Africa. This may encourage other extremist factions in Boko Haram to split off and create even more radical and violent groups like Ansaru.

In the south (Niger River Delta) the war against the oil pirate continues with police and naval forces concentrating on the illegal refineries that turn oil into kerosene for local sale and consumption. The navy has made it more difficult to get stolen oil out of Nigeria (by barge or small coastal tanker). Oil thieves who are in business with local politicians are believed to be operating free of police or military interference and most of the oil thieves shut down are those without senior officials as partners.

November 24, 2013: Tribal violence continues in central Nigeria (Plateau State), as some 300 Moslem gunmen attacked a Christian village, killing five people and burning over 200 buildings. Moslem nomadic Fulani tribesmen have been fighting with Christian farmers outside the city of Jos for years. The violence has gotten worse now and there have been nearly a thousand casualties so far this year. Boko Haram has recently claimed involvement, but that appears to be marginal. The Fulani have long claimed that the government was sending Christian police to persecute them because of their religion (not because they were constantly attacking Christian farmers). The settled (farming) tribes have been there a long time and in the last few decades more Fulani have come south looking for pasturage and water for their herds.

November 21, 2013: In the north (Borno state) some 30 Boko Haram gunmen in five vehicles raided a village and killed twelve people. The Islamic terrorists then burned many buildings after looting them. The Boko Haram men left with their loot (including several vehicles). Local civilians aided soldiers in tracking down the raiders.

November 20, 2013: The legislature extended the state of emergency in the northeast for another six months. The state of emergency began six months ago with a major military operation in the northeast. That offensive, and the Boko Haram resistance to it, has caused over 100,000 people in rural areas to flee their homes. Most have returned but at least 40,000 have fled the country, most of them to Niger.

November 19, 2013: A faculty member at a university in the north (Kogi state) has been accused of recruiting students for Boko Haram. Four Boko Haram suspects arrested in the capital recently identified Muhammad Nazeef Yunus, a lecturer in Islamic studies, as the man who recruited them.

November 15, 2013: In the north (Borno state) an army raid on a rural Boko Haram camp left 20 of the Islamic terrorists dead. One soldier was killed and three wounded. The fighting destroyed over twenty Boko Haram vehicles and some fifty motorcycles. Pursuit continues as over a hundred Islamic terrorists fled into the forest.

November 14, 2013: In the north (Borno state) an army raid on a rural camp of Boko Haram left nine of the Islamic terrorists dead. Among the equipment captured were two pickup trucks and two motorcycles.

In neighboring Cameroon a French priest was kidnapped by Boko Haram and is being held for a large (millions of dollars) ransom. Obtaining these ransoms is crucial to keeping Boko Haram functioning in northeast Nigeria. Since being chased out of the cities six months ago, the Islamic terrorists lost most of their sources of income (from extortion and voluntary contributions).

November 13, 2013: The U.S. has officially designated Boko Haram and Ansaru as international terrorist organizations. This makes it more difficult for the two Islamic terrorist groups to raise money outside of Nigeria and for its known members to travel internationally.

November 12, 2013: Two American officers from a merchant ship were freed by their kidnappers. The two were taken from an oil company supply ship last month. There was no mention of ransom being paid.

 

 

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