Good reports on how Boko Haram has infiltrated into Nigeria’s neighbour Cameroon. Boko Haram allegedly take advantage of the huge border between Nigeria and Cameroon to go backwards and forwards between both countries to recruit members and stage attacks.
Locals in Cameroon claim that Boko Haram members quickly bury their dead who are killed in attacks to prevent them from being identified.
One of the most tragic ironies is that thousands of Nigerians have fled from Nigeria into its poorer, smaller, less resourced neighbour Cameroon.
Great interview with former Abia State Governor Uzor Orji Kalu, who is also also a billionaire and one of Nigeria’s richest men. Kalu is a friend of other Nigerian billionaires such as Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga. Kalu has offered to negotiate with Boko Haram and claims the security challenge of Boko Haram could result in Goodluck Jonathan being Nigeria’s last ever president:
“There was a time when news of bombing and terrorism was synonymous to countries like Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. Nigeria is now at that point. We are now like those countries. This is what we have become. If care is not taken, Goodluck Jonathan would be the last president we’ve had in this country.”
In this interview a man who identified himself as a spiritual leader in Boko Haram said the Chibok girls will not be released until the Nigerian government releases all detained Boko Haram members. He claimed the girls are physically well, being well fed, and that Boko Haram do not differently treat Muslim and Christian girls. He claimed the girls “don’t have any problem”.
This is a video clip of Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh where he said the military knows where the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls are being held. Badeh was addressing a live crowd of demonstrators in Abuja. Excerpts from what he said:
“The good for the girls is we know where they are but we cannot tell you. We cannot come and tell you military secrets here. Just leave us alone – we are working. We will get the girls back…We have Al Qaida in west Africa. I believe it 100%… People from outside Nigeria are in this war. They are fighting us. They wants to destablise our country, and some people in this country are standing with the forces of darkness. No! We must salvage our country.”
CBS television interview with a Boko Haram member in Abuja who called himself “Saleh Abubakar”. He claims the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls “willingly” converted to Islam, and that more schoolgirls will be abducted.
The heads of Nigeria’s army, air force, navy, police, the GOC of the 7 Division Major-General Ahmadu Abubakar, and the National Security Adviser Lt-Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired), visit Chibok. Strange to see Major-General Abubakar there as press reports claimed he was removed from his command.
It seems that the public and media missed critical clues in the evolution of Boko Haram. People seem to think the 2009 clashes between Boko Haram and security forces were the start of the group’s campaign of violence.
However there were clues about the group’s increasing radicalization as far back as 10-12 years ago. In early 2003 a group that advocated implementing a purer form of Sharia law embarked upon a Hijra (migration) away from secular society which they regarded as corrupt, to a remote village in northern Yobe State near Nigeria’s border with Niger. Its members were described as “mostly urban, comparatively well off Nigerians who had moved to a commune-like village to set up their own isolated society”. Locals nicknamed the group the “Taliban”. Until the “Boko Haram” moniker became part of popular discourse in 2009, the group was known as the “Taliban” for about 5 years.
WHO WERE THE “NIGERIAN TALIBAN”?
According to Shehu Sani (who has met Boko Haram members) the “Taliban” group was led by an associate of Mohammed Yusuf called Mohammed Alli. Alli led the Taliban’s migration to a village close to Kannamma in Yobe State. The Taliban were largely peaceful and devoted themselves to their own interpretation of Islam and isolated themselves from the rest of secular society. Its members included “individuals from wealthy Islamic families in Borno State, unemployed university students and friends and colleagues from other states including Ogun and Lagos”. The Governor of Yobe State Bukar Abba Ibrahim denied allegations that his son was a member.
Although the Taliban were not violent, a Professor at the University of Maiduguri in Borno State, Abdulmumin Sa’ad, said that the group was on an “idealistic outing in Yobe State,” but that it and other groups could easily become violent and adopt extremist ideology or foreign ties. The Professor and his colleagues noted an increase in religiously inspired sects on Nigerian university campuses. Professor Sa’ad also said that radical Islamist groups were also emerging from unemployed academics looking to make sense of their corrupt society. With Nigeria becoming more corrupt and economically polarised, “radical groups will likely emerge and youth may look to Islamic extremism to strike back at economic and political injustice.” Chillingly, a U.S. diplomatic cable in February 2004 warned that “A small sect could easily turn to terrorism, or be used as a tool by international terrorist groups.”
After living peacefully with their neighbours in 2003, conflict arose after the Taliban got into a dispute with locals about fishing rights. Local leaders asked the Taliban to leave and in December 2003, the police destroyed the Taliban’s camp and arrested several of its members. This interaction with the police marked the first step in the weaponisation of the group that eventually metamophorsised into Boko Haram.
THE SLIDE INTO VIOLENCE
The Taliban retaliated by attacking the police station in Kannamma and taking several guns and ammunition from the station. They attacked other police stations in Yobe State before finally being suppressed in the Yobe State capital Damaturu. It is important to note that at this stage, the Taliban’s violence was directed almost entirely at the police and they had little interest in conflict with civilians. One Taliban member called Ismael Abdu Afatahi (a 21-year-old student from Lagos who joined the group) said: “I don’t know the major reason why we attacked the police posts. Maybe it is because the police is the protector of the people in Nigeria – But I was not told actually”.
In early 2004 the Taliban took their weapons into Borno State and also battled the police there. Press reports mentioned that scores of men wearing “red bandanas”, carrying a flag with an Islamic inscription, and chanting “Allahu Akbar!” attacked police stations in Bama and Gworza in Borno State. During their raids they also kidnapped some locals who they tried to conscript and forced to dig trenches around their camp. According to Shehu Sani, the Taliban who survived these clashes then joined Mohammed Yusuf’s movement. The movement that eventually became Boko Haram…
NIGERIAN ARMY – CHRONICLE OF COMMAND
|Chief of Defence Staff||Air Marshal Alex Badeh|
|Chief of Army Staff||Lt-General Kenneth Tobiah Jacob Minimah|
|Chief of Air Staff||Air Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu|
|Chief of Naval Staff||Vice-Admiral Usman Jibrin|
|General Officer Commanding, 1 Division, Kaduna||Major-General Kenneth Osuji|
|General Officer Commanding, 2 Division, Ibadan||Major-General Emmanuel Abejirin|
|General Officer Commanding, 3 Division, Jos||Major-General John Zaruwa|
|General Officer Commanding, 7 Division, Maiduguri||Brigadier-General M.Y. Ibrahim|
|General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Lagos||Major-General Bata Debi|
|General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Enugu||Major-General Shehu Yusuf|
|Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta (Operation PULO SHIELD)||Major-General Emmanuel Atewe|
|Commandant, National Defence College – Abuja||Rear-Admiral Thomas Lokoson|
|Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College – Jaji||Air Vice Marshal John Chris Ifemeje|
|Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy – Kaduna||Major-General Mohammed Idris|
|Flag Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Oghara (Delta State)||Rear-Admiral S.H. Usman|
|Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Yenagoa (Bayelsa State)||Rear-Admiral P.A. Agba|
|Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Calabar||Rear-Admiral O.C. Medani|
|Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Apapa (Lagos)||Rear-Admiral Samuel Alade|
|Air Officer Commanding, Tactical Air Command, Makurdi||Air Vice Marshal Umar Omeiza|
|Air Officer Commanding, Mobility Command, Yenagoa||Air Vice Marshal Samuel Abosede|
|Air Officer Commanding, Training Command, Kaduna||Air Vice Marshal Salihu Bala-Ribah|
|Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Lagos||Air Vice Marshal Mike Iloenyosi|
|Chief of Defence Intelligence (Defence Intelligence Agency)||Major-General Sani Yakubu Audu|
|Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence (Defence Intelligence Agency)||Air Vice Marshal James Gbum|
|Commander, Guards Brigade, Abuja||Brigadier-General Anthony Omozoje|
|Provost Marshal||Major-General Patrick Akem|
|Chief of Operations at Army Headquarters||Major-General J.A.H. Ewansiha|
|Chief of Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters||Major-General Bonna Awala|
|Chief of Logistics at Army Headquarters||Major-General Olufemi Adeosun|
|Commandant, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Minna||Major-General Salihu Uba|
|Military Secretary – Army||Major-General Iliyasu Abbah|
|Chief of Army Standards and Evaluation (CASE||Major-General Ahmed Tijani Jibrin|
|Director of Administration, Defence Headquarters||Major-General Obi Abel Umahi|
|Commander – Army Headquarters Garrison, Abuja||Brigadier General Barry Ndiomu*|
|Director of Policy at Army Headquarters||Major-General John Nwaoga|
|Commandant, Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre, Jaji,||Major-General Sanusi Nasiru Muazu|
|Chief of Policy and Plans||Major-General Jack Okechukwu Nwaogbo|
|Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Infantry;||Major-General Charley Okoro|
|Director of Defence Information||Major-General Chris Olukolade|
|Director, Army Public Relations||Brigadier General Olajide Laleye|
*Son of the late Major-General Charles Ndiomu
The President’s spokesman with a combative defence of the government’s response to the kidnap