Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is Nigeria's Boko Haram group really tied to Al Qaeda?

CS Monitor
22 September 2011

A string of increasingly brutal attacks – along with reports that Boko Haram may soon hit Nigeria's predominately Christian South – is bringing fresh scrutiny of the Islamist group.

By David Francis

Nigerian authorities escort media through the village of Hayin-Uku near Abuja where they say a two-room bomb-making factory was found September 6. Authorities said they had arrested six suspected members or people connected with the violent Islamist sect Boko Haram, including a foreign fighter from Niger. Authorities are investigating the bombing of the U.N. headquarters on August 26 that killed 23 people in the Nigerian capital.

Earlier this week, lawmakers, aides, and journalists in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja rushed into the streets after word spread that a bomb was planted in the National Assembly. Frantic calls to loved ones with reassurances of safety could be heard while police scrambled to find the explosive.

It turned out to be a false alarm. But Tuesday’s panic was indicative of the fear that has gripped Abuja since Aug. 26. On that day, Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group based in Nigeria’s north, detonated a bomb at the fortified United Nations headquarters, killing 23 people and injuring 76. The bomb, which gutted the entire first floor of the building, was carried in an SUV driven by a suicide bomber and member of the terrorist group. It was one of the worst attacks ever on a UN installation.

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