Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Boko Haram Menace

Daily Independent (Lagos)
24 July 2011


The recent announcement by Boko Haram - Western or non-Islamic education is a sin - to target Aso Rock should not be taken lightly. The sect's success in June in exploding a bomb in the car park of Louis Edet House, headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, was ominous enough, having last December detonated a bomb in a military barracks, also in the federal capital territory.

To date, Maiduguri in Borno State, where the sect was first formed in 2002, has been the hardest hit, although other states have not been spared. Bauchi, in particular, suffered disproportionately in the wake of last April's presidential election, ostensibly because they were unhappy that Jonathan was declared winner, but which raises the question: What do they want? According to a spokesperson, Abu Abdurahman, "We are demanding an Islamic government be established in the northern states. Not this kind of democratic government... There is no real Sharia in [the] northern states." Given this, it is doubtful whether they would have been satisfied with the emergence of a Moslem president if he or she did not subscribe to a Taliban-type regime that ruled Afghanistan before it was overthrown by the US in the wake of 9/11, which is to say a regime which publicly executed women caught reading a book in their own home. If so, this raises the further question as to whether they have links with foreign organisations with similar aims. According to sources - necessarily anonymous - some of their members are supposed to have received training in Somalia, and there are rumours about links to Al-Qaeda, deemed by the US to be the world's deadliest terrorist organisation.

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