Thursday, September 4, 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram Reportedly Has Abuja, Lagos in its Sights

According to AFP, Nigeria and its regional allies on Wednesday (September 3) called for greater international support to shut down Boko Haram's weapons and funding supply as concern mounted at the group's rapid recent land grab.
Militants had seized another town, prompting warnings that Nigeria was losing control of the northeast and violence could spill across regional borders.
Nigeria's Foreign Minister Aminu Wali said his counterparts from Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger recognized the need for a more joined-up effort to curb arms trafficking and spiraling violence during a day of talks on the national security crisis.
COMMENT: A psychological reality is that most Nigerian security forces run from Boko Haram when they attack a target, which renders the country impotent and vulnerable to the terror group.
A national scandal is the mass hostage-taking of 200+ girls and women in April 2014 with both Nigerian security forces and international specialists failing to recapture most of the hostages, who have by now become sex slaves to Boko Haram fighters and their surrogates.
Boko Haram grew out of a largely peaceful anti-corruption movement led by Islamic preacher Mohammed Yusuf in northeast Nigeria, turning violent only after his death in police custody in 2009.
But increasingly bloody attacks, including al-Qaeda-style car and suicide bombings, have led to discussion about the exact nature and extent of their links to the global jihadi network.
The United Nations earlier this year designated Boko Haram an al-Qaeda-linked group in an initiative designed to shut down overseas funding and fiscal support, although Boko Haram is very creative in terms of its financing.
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Nigeria's soldiers deployed in the region have complained that the militants are better equipped, possess arms with greater firepower, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and even armored personnel carriers.
Some arms supplies are thought to come from adjacent countries, although the Nigerian military seems to be nothing more than a mobile Wal-Mart.View gallery
International intelligence and surveillance specialists and equipment were sent to Abuja to help trace the missing teenagers, 219 of whom are still being held captive.
On Monday militants reportedly took over the town of Bama, 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, sending hundreds of soldiers fleeing.
The military disputes the claims, but the fighting has raised fears that Boko Haram has both Abuja and Lagos in their sights and aims to make it the center of a separate, hardline Islamic state.
The Nigeria Security Network of analysts said Nigeria's northeast was "on the brink" of coming under Boko Haram control, which could see parts of Cameroon being overrun and spark a humanitarian crisis.