U.S. Crony Subverts Nigerian Democracy

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CSP, by Nicholas Hanlon, March 31. 2015:

In the months leading up to the 2015 Nigerian presidential election, incumbent Goodluck Jonathan received generally negative media coverage.  This was due in large part to what was at the time an unexplainable lack of response to the rise of Boko Haram and the kidnapping of over 250 school girls from Chibok in April of 2014.

The Chibok tragedy heightened international attention on Boko Haram that had been preceded by U.S. State Department campaign to downplay the significance and motivations of Boko Haram as a group disgruntled by a lack of government services.  Boko Haram was in fact identifiable as a part of the global jihad movement with connections to al Qaeda going back to 2011.

No one could fault an analyst or observer who predicted that Goodluck Jonathan would lose this weekend’s election due to his own lack of leadership and assertiveness.  There were and indeed are ostensible shortcomings.  There is now, however, a critical piece of context that was missing before.  The U.S. administration intentionally undermined the democratically elected president of Nigeria while David Axelrod and his political firm were being paid by the political opponent of President Goodluck Jonathan.  That opponent is former dictator Muhamadou Buhari and he stands to be the next president of Nigeria.

The list of particulars with which U.S. policy was used to frustrate the Nigerian government’s battle against Boko Haram began with the State Department resistance to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization. The list also includes denial of intelligence in the crucial weeks following the Chibok kidnapping, ending oil purchases as Nigeria’s primary customer, and prioritizing Nigeria’s domestic social policy over national security.

Note that the reduction of oil purchases, an act of economic warfare, was hanging over President Jonathan’s head just before the Chibok kidnapping.  Reeling from unexplained punishment from the U.S., Jonathan’s strained silence in his reaction seems explainable in this context.  Each mechanism with which the U.S. subverted President Jonathan came with a thinly veiled pretense that will disappear for lack of necessity after a Buhari victory.

This pattern will continue.  Buhari’s victory will be contested in court by President Jonathan’s PDP party.  Watch for the U.S. to congratulate Muhamadou Buhari prematurely.  U.S. oil purchases from Nigeria will recommence, likely fulfilling a deal cut long ago between Axelrod and Buhari.  Buhari will take credit for restoring the economy and decisively challenging Boko Haram, with U.S. Intelligence and military support resuming full scale.  It is, after all, what Buhari’s campaign, designed by Axelrod’s firm, AKPD, was based on.

Shock claim: Why Obama refused to help fight Boko Haram

2091508155CSP, (Originally published by WorldNetDaily)

Allegations are mounting that the Obama administration withheld weapons and intelligence support from Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram in an effort to boost the chances of the Muslim candidate for president, who is a client of the political firm founded by key Obama strategist David Axelrod.

Nigerians this weekend are deciding a very competitive race between incumbent Christian President Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan and retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who ruled as dictator there from 1983 until 1985, when he was removed through a coup. Buhari has previously vowed to institute Shariah law in the Muslim-dominated parts of the country if elected.

With the guidance of Axelrod’s firm, Buhari has tamped down talk of Shariah nearing election day and even added a Pentecostal Christian as his running mate.

Boko Haram is a radical Islamist terrorist group that recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. In recent years, Boko Haram has slaughtered entire villages, burned countless churches and targeted Christians and moderate Muslims for death. It received global attention last year for abducting nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls.

The Obama-Axelrod connection to the Nigerian elections and its impact on U.S. policy toward Boko Haram is laid out in a detailed piece by James Simpson for Accuracy in Media.

Simpson said the Nigerians are thoroughly convinced Obama’s actions are rooted in politics.

“Nigerians overwhelmingly, at least the ones that I talk to and the articles I’ve been able to access, believe that the U.S. deliberately withheld military aid to the Nigerian president because David Axelrod’s group, AKPD, is consulting his Muslim opponent in the upcoming elections,” said Simpson.

According to Simpson, the Nigerians are most upset over their requests being denied for Cobra attack helicopters.

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with James Simpson.

Gaffney said it isn’t hard to see a pattern developing in how this administration approaches foreign elections. “It seems the Obama administration has withheld intelligence,” said Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney. “It seems it has withheld training. It’s found various pretexts, but (the fact it has also withheld) some of the arms that could be very, very decisively used against this odious terrorist organization … really raises a host of questions that I don’t think have been satisfactorily answered by this administration.”

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Frank Gaffney.

“This may sound like deja vu all over again,” said Gaffney, who likens U.S. involvement in Nigeria’s presidential elections to what America just witnessed in Israel’s parliamentary elections.

“He has, as he had in Israel, a political operative engaged in helping effect, in a way that is clearly meddling in the internal affairs of a foreign government and a friendly, sovereign foreign government at that,” Gaffney said. “It rebounds to the benefit, in this case it would appear to the financial benefit of his friend and adviser, David Axelrod. That has translated into efforts to support the candidacy of General Buhari.”

Like President Jonathan, Gen. Buhari is also vowing to exterminate Boko Haram. So how could Obama administration policy impact the campaign?

“Clearly, Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election has been made more difficult by the appearance that he’s not doing enough to defeat Boko Haram,” he said.

While Gaffney believes Obama’s denial of meaningful assistance to Nigeria reflects either a desire to see Buhari get elected or simply to help Axelrod’s client win, there are more official reasons given for the lack of support.

“One is that the administration has found fault with the human rights record of the Nigerian military,” said Gaffney, who noted that the other public concern rests with the Obama cultural agenda.

“There are laws on the books of Nigeria, adopted by a sovereign nation through its normal processes, that they consider to be untoward, unacceptable, homophobic, whatever you want to call it, toward people who are lesbians, gays, transgenders, bisexuals and so on,” he explained.

Simpson reports that Secretary of State John Kerry added fuel to the fire by suggesting the U.S. may re-evaluate the selling of arms and sharing of intelligence after the elections.

“The whole thing is a joke. We provided military aid to Uganda and they have a bad human rights record as well. We’ve provided military aid to al Qaida-liked groups in Libya who are now joining ISIS. The whole thing is ludicrous,” said Simpson.

Despite very little U.S. assistance, Nigeria is starting to make significant strides against Boko Haram. Forty towns have recently been liberated, at least 500 Boko Haram members have been killed and many of the terrorists are retreating to the jungle in the border regions near Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The Nigerians say it’s because they finally got help – from Moscow.

“They are having an impact but they claim it’s because finally they had to turn around and get their arms from Russia. They got Russian Hind attack helicopters and some other heavy duty military equipment, troop carriers and [armored personnel carriers] and things like that. So they’ve been able to take the fight to the enemy,” said Simpson.

Another major issue at work is the Obama administration’s push for a “gay” rights agenda throughout the world and Nigeria recently moved decisively in the opposite direction.

Fifteen months ago, Nigeria enacted laws that criminalize homosexual behavior and strictly forbids “gay marriage.” Simpson says a public display of affection between homosexuals could draw imprisonment of 10 years or more.

That is not sitting well with the Obama administration.

“The gay rights agenda is detested throughout much of Africa. Seventy percent of African nations have laws outlawing homosexuality. This particularly harsh law was passed in December 2013 and the United States and other western nations spoke out against it,” said Simpson.

The diplomatic friction over the Obama administration’s “gay” rights agenda may well be a key factor in America’s refusal to provide more help against Boko Haram and in Obama’s desire to see a new president in Nigeria.

“Obama, in sort of veiled threats, said that he would withhold aid if they didn’t repeal that law. The Nigerians basically told them to get lost. ‘We’re going to do what we want. You don’t have any right to impose your morality on us,”’ said Simpson, who says the Jonathan campaign alleges that Buhari has secretly promised the Obama administration that he will work to repeal the law if elected.

Gaffney believes some concerns about laws addressing sexual orientation may be warranted, but said he has no “dog in that particular fight” and believes regional and U.S. security interests suggest the administration ought to be pursuing a far different course.

“We do have a profoundly important stake in the larger question of whether Nigeria continues to slide into chaos, into the orbit of these jihadists,” he said. “Oil, the strategic resources and position and population of that country are put into serious jeopardy as a result of these calculations.”

Also see:

Obama Accused of Obstructing Battle against Boko Haram to Promote Axelrod’s Nigerian Muslim Client

timthumb (12)AIM, by James SimpsonMarch 26, 2015:

When the notorious Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped 278 school girls from the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria last year, Michelle Obama began a Twitter hashtag campaign, #BringBackOurGirls. But behind the scenes, the Obama administration was undermining Nigeria’s efforts to take the battle to the terrorists. Obama refused to sell Nigeria arms and supplies critical to the fight, and stepped in to block other Western allies from doing so. The administration also denied Nigeria intelligence on Boko Haram from drones operating in the area. While Boko Haram was kidnapping school girls, the U.S. cut petroleum purchases from Nigeria to zero, plunging the nation’s economy into turmoil and raising concerns about its ability to fund its battle against the terrorists. Nigeria responded by cancelling a military training agreement between the two countries.

The Nigerian presidential election is coming up Saturday, March 28, 2015. AKPD, the political consulting group founded by Obama confidante David Axelrod, is assisting Retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim presidential candidate from Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram was spawned and wields the most influence. Buhari is well-known throughout the country, having led as “Head-of-State” following a military coup in 1983. He was dislodged following another coup in 1985.

Democracy is a recent phenomenon in Nigeria. With the exception of two short periods from its independence in 1960 to 1966, and the second republic from 1979 to 1983, the country was ruled by a string of military dictatorships between 1966 and 1999.

Under the All Progressives Congress (APC) banner, Buhari is putting up a stiff challenge to the sitting president, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan who hails from Nigeria’s Christian south. Buhari was also the North’s presidential candidate in the last election held in 2011.

Axelrod is credited as the force behind President Obama’s election victories in 2008 and 2012. He served as Obama’s Senior Advisor until 2011. A well-placed Nigerian interviewed for this report who asked to remain unidentified says that influential Nigerians within and outside the government believe Obama deliberately undermined the war effort and sabotaged the Nigerian economy to make President Jonathan appear weak and ineffectual, and thus bolster the electoral prospects for AKPD’s client, Buhari.

The prominent daily Nigerian Tribune cites an activist group, Move on Nigeria, complaining that the U.S. is fueling tension in Nigeria and has “continued to publicly magnify every challenge of the Nigerian government.”

An anti-Buhari Nigerian blogger writing in the Western Post went further:

In the last year, Nigeria sought aid from the White House for many initiatives, including the fight against Boko Haram.

The Obama administration refused to do anything but play [sic] lip service to Nigeria’s requests. However, it used public and private channels to internationally magnify every failure Nigeria’s government experienced.

In the last year, since the involvement of Axelrod’s firm, relations between the two nations have significantly deteriorated, with the US refusing to sell arms to Nigeria, a significant reduction in the purchase of Nigeria’s oil, and the cancellation of a military training agreement between Nigeria and the USA.

In turn, the Buhari-led Nigerian opposition used the U.S. government’s position as validation for their claim that the Nigerian government was a failure.

Nigerian officials seeking to purchase weapons, especially Cobra attack helicopters, were outraged at Obama’s refusal to allow these transactions. Nigeria’s ambassador to the U.S., Professor Adebowale Adefuye, stated publicly that:

The U.S. government has up till today refused to grant Nigeria’s request to purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time on the basis of the allegations that Nigeria’s defence forces have been violating human rights of Boko Haram suspects when captured or arrested.

We find it difficult to understand how and why, in spite of the U.S. presence in Nigeria, with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly.

Another official quoted in the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay, stated:

The U.S. government has frustrated Nigeria all the way in our war against terrorism despite its public statements in support of Nigeria, as it fights the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east… They want us to fight Boko Haram with our arms tied to our backs.

They have blocked us from procuring the helicopters and would not provide us with intelligence despite the fact that they have several drones and sophisticated aircraft overflying the North-east of Nigeria from bases in Niger and Chad where the Boko Haram fighters and movements are clearly in their sights.

Retired Col. Abubakar Umar, a former military governor, concluded that the Americans “have decided to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Nigeria.”

Former Head-of-State, Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon publicly stated last November that America is no friend of Nigeria.

After exhausting all avenues, the Nigerian government finally turned to Russia, China and the black market to obtain needed arms, and as a result has gone aggressively on the offensive against Boko Haram, retaking some 40 towns occupied by the group and killing at least 500 terrorists. According to recent accounts, Boko Haram has gone to ground in the northeastern border regions. But whereas the border states of Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon formerly took a hands-off approach, they have now joined in the effort to destroy the group, pledging a total of 8,700 troops. Most recently, Boko Haram has been cleared of its northeastern strongholds in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

U.S. Excuses

The Obama administration has said it is barred from supplying weapons by the so-called Leahy Amendment which forbids foreign states that have committed “gross human rights violations” from receiving military aid. However this did not stop the U.S. from sending Special Forces to Uganda—another country accused of such violations—to assist in capturing Lord Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. Nor did it prevent Obama from supporting al Qaeda-linked rebel groups in Libya, who later went on to attack the Benghazi mission, and have now joined ISIS. The Syrian “moderates” the administration claimed to back are also allegedly joining with ISIS.

In fact, Obama supported the Islamic radicals who destabilized states throughout the Middle East, including Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and did little to prevent Iranian-backed Shiites from overthrowing Yemen—a key ally in the War on Terror. And despite claims that the U.S. “does not negotiate with terrorists,” the administration did so in secret with the Taliban for years, most notoriously over the release of Bowe Bergdahl.

The U.S. State Department is currently negotiating a deal that will enable Iran to obtain the bomb, and it just declared that Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, are not terrorists. The administration even claims Iran has been an ally in the War on Terror! Finally, Axelrod’s client, Buhari, has been accused of human rights abuses during his time as chief-of-state.

To top it off, Secretary of State John Kerry made a mockery of the administration’s pretext by hinting in January meetings with both Jonathan and Buhari that the Obama administration might allow weapon sales after the election. If the U.S. was so concerned about human rights violations, how could a mere election change that? Given the perception that Buhari has Obama’s implicit support, this sends an unmistakable message.

The administration also rationalized its decision to cut purchases of Nigerian oil by claiming that output from domestic oil fracking has reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil. But that begs the question: why have U.S. oil imports from other nations increased at the same time? Nigeria was formerly among America’s top five oil supplying countries, and America its largest customer. Nigeria relies on oil revenues for 70 percent of its budget. America’s decision to look elsewhere has been catastrophic for Nigeria’s economy.

A Deutsche Bank analyst noted that the decline in Nigeria’s oil sales to America “proceeded much faster than for the U.S.’ other major suppliers,” and concluded that singling Nigeria out this way had to be driven by politics.

Nigeria is not the only country where Obama is using oil as a foreign policy weapon. The U.S. has not renewed its 35-year-old agreement with Israel to provide emergency supplies of oil, despite booming U.S. oil production. The agreement expired in November 2014. At the time, the State Department claimed to be working on renewing the agreement, but has yet to do so.

U.S. Media AWOL

There is not a single article mentioning Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari in any U.S. “mainstream” media outlet. Only the Washington Free Beacon ran a story.

A Google search of “New York Times, Nigeria, Axelrod,” found only one Times article titled Nigerian Soldiers Noticeably Absent in Town Taken from Boko Haram. There was no mention of Axelrod or his relationship to Nigeria’s Muslim candidate, Buhari. Rather, it criticized Nigeria’s participation in the recent multi-country effort to remove Boko Haram from its northeastern Nigerian holdouts, quoting Chadian foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who said, “The Nigerian Army has not succeeded in facing up to Boko Haram.”

There are however, many flattering articles about Axelrod, like the Times review of his book, Believer.

NBC News reported on the oil issue, quoting Peter Pham, the Atlantic Council’s director of its Africa Program, who characterized it as “a sea change in [Nigeria’s] relations with the United States, a sea change in its geopolitical position in the world.”

NBC also noted Nigerian ambassador Adefuye’s complaint about U.S. refusal to provide weapons to Nigeria, and how both issues impacted Nigeria’s ability to fight Boko Haram—but there was no mention of Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari.

Buhari Connected to Boko Haram?

Boko Haram is a virulently anti-Western Islamist movement. Its name, roughly translated, means “fake education is forbidden,” but in practice the term “fake” refers to Western education. It was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, a Salafist preacher who created a school to provide an Islamic alternative to Westernized schools. Over time it became a recruiting tool for Boko Haram fighters. The group envisions creating an Islamic caliphate throughout Africa. Yusuf was killed by police in a 2009 uprising, and was replaced by Abubakar Shekau, who recently pledged the group’s alliance with ISIS. Let’s review just what kind of monsters these Boko Haram terrorists are:

Certain Buhari supporters such as Ango Abdullahi of the Northern Elders Forum(NEF), have been accused of tacitly supporting Boko Haram, and Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has linked Buhari himself with the terrorists. The alleged connection however, is an open question. In 2013, Buhari protested a government crackdown on the group. In 2012, Boko Haram nominated Buhari as one of six mediators in negotiations with the government over a proposed ceasefire. In 2001, Buhari expressed his desire to see Nigeria ruled by Sharia law,saying:

I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria… God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country.

However, Boko Haram attempted to assassinate Buhari last year in a suicide bomb attack that killed 82. More recently, the group called both him and Jonathan “Infidels.” For his part, Buhari called the group “bigots masquerading as Muslims.” Buhari also ruthlessly suppressed a similar group, the Maitatsine, during his time as military head-of-state. Buhari’s vice-presidential running mateis a Pentecostal pastor from the south. Similarly, Jonathan picked a Muslim from the north as his number two.

But much violence has surrounded Buhari’s past efforts. Nigeria has a practice of alternating northern and southern rule called zoning. In the 2011 election, Jonathan was president, having ascended from the vice presidency in 2010 following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adau, a northerner. Some Northern politicians believed that Buhari should have assumed the presidency in 2011.

Abdullahi and others, at that time, threatened violence if Buhari wasn’t elected. Buhari himself refused to condemn violence. This was universally interpreted as encouragement from Buhari. Within hours of Jonathan’s election—what was believed to be one of Nigeria’s historically fairest—Buhari’s Muslim supporters took to the streets, attacking Jonathan supporters with machetes and knives. Following Jonathan’s inauguration, Boko Haram launched a wave of bombings, killing and wounding dozens. An estimated 800 people died in the post-election violence in the Muslim north.

A prominent Nigerian deputy governor, Tele Ikuru, who recently abandoned the APC to join Jonathan’s PDP, called the APC “a party of rebels, insurgents and anarchists, clothed in the robes of pretence and deceit.”

Embarrassed by the kidnapping and the perceived association between Buhari’s supporters and Boko Haram, AKPD claimed that they discontinued work for Buhari in early 2014. However, The Washington Free Beacon has unearthed emails showing that they continued to quietly aid APC into at least January of this year.

Their campaign appears to have been successful. While Nigerian election polls are conflicting, the most recent one projects Buhari the winner by a wide margin. Not surprisingly, the reasons cited for Jonathan’s unpopularity include the perception that he is weak and ineffectual against Boko Haram, and that the economy is in a sorry state. Nigerians have taken to calling the president “Bad Luck” Jonathan.

Nigeria’s Critical Role and U.S. Policy Failures

Most Americans are unaware of the critical role Nigeria plays in African politics. In addition to being Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigeria is also the continent’s most populous nation, with an estimated 162 million people, and is home toapproximately 12.5 percent of the world’s total black population. Additionally, Nigerian Americans are very productive and well represented in the fields of medicine, sports, engineering, and academics. Annual remittances are $21 billion, with America providing the largest proportion. It is ironic at best that America’s so-called “first black president” is alienating such a nation, especially given its powerful influence throughout Africa.

Because of Obama, America is losing allies the world over. Despite his so-called outreach to “the Muslim world,” the few Muslim allies America has are calling him out. For example, observe the unprecedented spectacle of Arabs cheering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress. Columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj of the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Jazirah, called Obama “the worst president in American history.” The only Muslims Obama seems to like are those who hate America, and he is going out of his way to court them, come what may.

James Simpson is an economist, businessman and investigative journalist. His articles have been published at American Thinker, Accuracy in Media,Breitbart, PJ Media, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily and others. His regular column is DC Independent Examiner. Follow Jim on Twitter &Facebook

Also see:

Boko Haram Shura Council Considers Loyalty to Islamic State as Media Hypes Report on IS-Boko Haram Differences

Boko-Haram-.-kill-Agric-students-in-Gujba-Yobe-stateCSP, by Kyle Shideler, Feb. 23, 2015:

A statement by a U.S. intelligence officer discussing the differences between Boko Haram and Islamic State, and stressing that the two groups, ” caliphates are completely separate” and that they would find it difficult to cooperate due to Arab racism received plenty of traction in reporting last week:

“The Arab world is incredibly racist,” explained a U.S. intelligence official. “They don’t see black Africans as equivalent to them.”

ISIS may show “affinity” with Boko Haram, said the official, “but they stop short of allegiance.” Moreover, said the official, while Boko Haram has in the past year released videos to show “affiliation” with groups like ISIS, there’s no evidence of either group sending members to fight with the other. And while Boko Haram has praised ISIS, and shown the ISIS flag in videos, ISIS has not reciprocated.

Now, however, comes a new report by the private intelligence firm SITE, which notes that according to jihadist media sources, Boko Haram, whose actual name is Jama’at Ahl al-Sunnah Lil Dawa Wal Jihad (Group for the Propagation of the Sunnah and Jihad), will have its Shura council discuss swearing allegiance to the Islamic State’s “caliph” Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

It’s just another example of the ironic timing of an analysis which seems to misunderstand the nature of the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement generally. The Islamic State, in its position as a declared Caliphate, does not need to offer allegiance to Boko Haram. Rather it is incumbent upon Boko Haram, as a group waging jihad, to swear its allegiance to the Caliph. As IS wrote in its original declaration of the Caliphate, “This is The Promise of Allah“:

We clarify to the Muslims that with this declaration of khilāfah, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to the khalīfah Ibrāhīm and support him (may Allah preserve him). The legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations, becomes null by the expansion of the khilāfah’s authority and arrival of its troops to their areas. Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, as reported by ‘Abdūs Ibn Mālik al-‘Attār, “It is not permissible for anyone who believes in Allah to sleep without considering as his leader whoever conquers them by the sword until he becomes khalīfah and is called Amīrul-Mu’minīn (the leader of the believers), whether this leader is righteous or sinful.”

There was never a question of the Islamic State accepting Boko Haram. Islamic State ALREADY claims authority over Boko Haram, since it’s leader AbuBakr AlBaghdadi was declared literally “leader of all the believers,” meaning the entire Ummah, and thus all Muslims everywhere, regardless of the color of their skin.

While Islamic State may include many individuals who are racist in their behavior, by giving non-Arab jihadists the worst positions for instance,  the question of allegiance is entirely dependent on whether Boko Haram acknowledges the Caliphate claim, and chooses to accept Islamic State’s authority.

That Boko Haram has expressed some attraction to Islamic State and its messaging (using their flag, anthems and so on) suggested that there was a desire to do so, but ultimately the question is a legal one. Does Boko Haram’s Shura council recognize the legal claim of AbuBakr Al-Baghdadi or not? It is this question that the Shura council will convene to answer, and which will decide whether or not Islamic State adds another province to its roster.

Also see:

Boko Haram Discusses Baga Massacre, Ideology in New Video

 

CSP, by Kyle Shideler, Jan. 28, 2015

The jihadist group known as Boko Haram, appears to have released a new video featuring an interview with the group’s spokesman Sheikh Abu Mus’ab Al barnawi. Regarding its recent successes in attacks on towns in the Lake Chad region Al Barnawi says:

As for it’s importance to us, it’s because of it removes that military presence from the lands of the Islamic state, and hence establish the Shariah of Allah in the region, and attain safety and security in it for Muslims. It’s known that those military complexes if they go to a place they corrupt it and injustice rules over it, and we by the Grace of Allah alone have managed to conquer this city and add it to the cities of the Islamic state in Africa.

It’s not immediately clear if Al barnawi means the term Islamic State in a generic sense, or if he is referring to the self-declared Caliphate represented by ISIS leader AbuBakr Al Baghdadi, but Boko Haram has increasingly utilized the flag and symbols of ISIS in its media presentations, and has expressed support for, if not allegiance to Al Baghdadi. In the video, Al barnawi is explicit regarding the group’s larger goals of establishing Sharia and expresses irritation at the insistence of the western media’s referring to the group as Boko Haram rather than by its official name Jama’aat Ahul Sunna wall el Daa’wa wal Jihad (Group for the Propagation of the Sunnah and Jihad). The Boko Haram spokesman also denied allegations that the group engaged in Takfirism (the practice of declaring fellow Muslims to be infidels), spending several minutes denying the claim.

We have come to give victory to AlSunna and to establish the governance of Allah on earth. As for accusing us of shedding Muslims’ blood that’s not true, and Allah is our witness. How do we fight them if we fight for their cause? When we entered the city that was what is called the stick carriers “Catodqora,” they collaborated with the armies of the false deity and carried their weapons, and stood by them. We fought who fought us, and they know they fought us, and when they saw our strength they fled the city, some by sea, some to the forests, and yet we send them this message: Who fought or didn’t fight us who comes repenting will be forgiven and we give him safety and security because we are a nation whose morals refuse to initiate harm on who doesn’t harm us.

“Stick carriers”, presumably refers to vigilante groups which have sprung up in some northern Nigerian towns in order to repulse attacks by the jihadist group. As is common in jihadist propaganda material, the focus of the group remains on the establishment of the Islamic State, and enforcement of Shariah. There are no references to corruption, disparity in oil wealth, or endemic poverty, the sorts of so-called “root causes” that drive State Department policy on Nigeria.

Boko Haram is ISIS in Africa

165551161CSP, by Nicholas Hanlon, Jan. 8, 2015:

Like the U.S. non-response to the Syrian civil war which gave rise to ISIS, Boko Haram has been allowed to fester in Nigeria.  Inaction emboldens the merciless Islamist militants and makes them stronger.

Boko Haram currently holds a military base in Baga, a tri-border town on Lake Chad in the North Eastern most part of Nigeria near Cameroon and Chad.  The sum of territory Boko Haram holds is comparable to that of ISIS.  There are reports that some 2000 lives were taken when Baga fell and in the aftermath.  The strength of Boko Haram’s hold on such territory rests largely on the fear in the hearts of the land’s inhabitants as does the strength of the Taliban in Afghanistan and ISIS in Iraq.   The White House has given relatively minor attention to Boko Haram.  The nature of the group’s rise and territorial occupation would raise the same foreign policy debates about military expedition and counter insurgency as the Taliban and ISIS did were Boko Haram anywhere else but Africa.  The current unprofessional conduct of the Nigerian military defies the best practices of a counter insurgency and does more to drive locals into Boko Haram’s merciless arms.  The best advice still demands a large force of well trained soldiers to take back, secure, and keep territory.  But who is prepared to take on the task?

For any heads of state that may come to terms with that reality, several questions follow.   Who could muster such resolve and force, and who would?  Baga represented the regional response.  It is where the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) was meant to base its operations that includes Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.  Cameroonian president Biya was able to recess a previous military base attack with airstrikes and has sent 7000 troops to the border.  Perhaps in recognition of Biya’s reliability, AFRICOM stepped up its counter terrorism cooperation with Cameroon in December.

In the new world we live in now, it is clear that the U.S. will not take initiative in Nigeria. The White House press office has put out a fact sheet that reads more like a check list on how to do as little as possible and still appear engaged. Wrought with generalizations the list makes broad statements referencing funding for already existing programs.  The primary measures of substance point to the new Security Governance Initiative but there are no resolute statements that speak to actually defeating Boko Haram.

Even if it were a willing Strong Horse, U.S. military resources have now long since been vultured by domestic politics, misused, and diffused of their strategic posture.  Further, the president made clear in his 2014 West Point address that he did not consider U.S. military power an important or primary tool of state craft.  Likening the U.S. military to  a hammer is an unsophisticated description of the most complex, versatile, and useful force for peace the world has yet seen.  Real solutions and efforts to counter ISIS and Boko Haram will be ugly and require an undesirable level of resolve and commitment.  The president’s misconception of his own options are compounded by a misconception of who Boko Haram and ISIS are as enemies.  Though the White House now bullet points terrorist organization designations of Boko Haram on the list of things it has done, it resisted doing so until John Kerry took over at State Department.  A clear early opportunity to recognize a potential long term ideological threat was lost.  Instead, the state department attributed Boko Haram’s rise to poverty and lack of resources.  Similarly likening ISIS to a Junior Varsity team, the effort to down play the threat of Islamic groups with territorial ambition has been the administration’s supplement for challenging them early on.

The similarities between Boko Haram and ISIS are glaring for a reason and increasingly observed in detail.  There is the claim of a Sunni Islamic caliphate, territorial ambition, highly organized systems of kidnapping and sexual slavery, and organized court systems used to rule captive towns and villages under Shariah law.  There is also increasing recognition of each others legitimacy. Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau has expressed support for ISIS, incorporated its logo and anthem, and has flattered Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi with mimicry.  Boko Haram’s nods to ISIS are not simply surprising similarities discovered by analysts or trite displays of mutual admiration.  Furthermore, whether these acts symbolize real allegiance or recognition is secondary.  These are clear symptoms of camaraderie and brotherhood.  Official declarations of affiliation between Sunni groups are in most ways insignificant to their success, growth or motivation.  Their ideology unites them and animates them both.  More simply put, Boko Haram and ISIS are similar because they are the same set of ideas manifest on different continents in different cultures.

Boko Haram in Nigeria is one front of a larger war. ISIS is another.  Boko Haram presents challenges of diplomacy and state-craft that will increase in threat level the longer left unchecked which will rival that of ISIS.  It is in Nigeria, however that U.S. assertiveness can still galvanize regional resolve in way that has been lost in the Middle East.  Hopefully that opportunity will remain for the possibility of the next U.S. administration to recognize it.

Nigeria Teeters on the Brink: 8 Terrifying Trends

bokoPJ Media, By Patrick Poole, December 18, 2014:

For much of its five-year long insurgency in Nigeria costing thousands of lives, Boko Haram enjoyed no sanction by the U.S. government. That changed just over a year ago when they were finally designated a terrorist organization by the State Department.

That notwithstanding, Boko Haram continues to expand its terror campaign across the north of the country, now controlling an area the size of Maryland.

On the other side of the conflict is the hapless administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, which so far has been unable to mount any substantive opposition to Boko Haram’s advance. With presidential elections looming in February and with Jonathan most likely running for reelection, there appears to be no effective political counterweight that can put Nigeria on a course to mount a counter-offensive against Boko Haram.

The strategic stakes involved for the U.S. are extraordinary, but you would never be able to gauge that from the absence of any alarm from the Obama administration or from either side of the aisle in Congress. Not only does Nigeria have the continent’s largest population at 173 million and the largest economy in Africa, it also is the10th largest oil producer in the world.

With a failed Libyan state (thanks in no small part to the Obama administration), Egypt — the world’s largest Arab country — fighting its own counterinsurgency in the Sinai, and Islamist insurgencies inflamed from Nigeria to Kenya, the loss of Nigeria to jihadists could be the tipping point to lose the whole of Africa.

With those factors in mind, here are eight disturbing trends that warrant immediate attention for Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.

1) Religious cleansing of Christians is escalating: It’s remarkable that not even two years ago senior State Department officials were denying before Congress that there was any religious dimension to Boko Haram’s reign of terror.

Nigerian churches, which should be open and inviting, are now having to install crash barriers and metal detectors. And yet within just the past few months, more than 1,000 churches have been ransacked and burned, and hundreds of thousands of Christians are being driven from their homes.

For instance, in one October offensive in just two northeastern states, Boko Haram reportedly burned down 185 churches and forced 190,000 to flee. Last month they attacked Mubi, the second largest city in Adamawa state, killing hundreds and destroying as they went. Without the slightest hint of hypocrisy, Boko Haram renamed the city “Madinatul Islam,” meaning, “city of Islam and peace.”

2) Massive population displacement: According to a UN press release, the attack on Mubi displaced 13,000 Nigerians, who were forced to flee to neighboring Cameroon, which is struggling to accommodate nearly 50,000 Nigerian refugees and another 250,000 from the Central African Republic with extremely scarce resources. Another 100,000 refugees have fled to Niger, with 30,000 arriving just in the past two months. There’s no guarantee of safety in taking refuge in neighboring countries, as Boko Haram has staged cross-border attacks. Inside Nigeria, it was reported that 400,000 refugees are in the Yolo area, severely taxing the city’s resources. Overall, 1.5 million Nigerians have been displaced by the violence, with 650,000 in the northeast alone.

3) Disease and famine loom: The massive displacement has strained refugee centers past the breaking point. Conditions in the camps are universally reported to be unsanitary and breeding grounds for cholera and measles. Because resources are stretched so thin, most refugees are left to fend for themselves for shelter, food, and water. As winter begins to set in, observers on the ground I have spoken to in the past few weeks warn of possible mass starvation in the months ahead.

Food prices are high and most refugees left their homes with nothing and have no reliable income. Because of the security situation, few relief agencies have a permanent operating presence in the most heavily affected areas. UN and private relief agencies are requesting additional funds, and yet the Strategic Response Plan for Nigeria launched in February was just 14 percent funded by mid-November.

4) Power grab by Muslim militias: In recent weeks there have been efforts by Islamic authorities and the emirs to stand up Muslim militias in the north, ostensibly to fight Boko Haram. But there’s no guarantee that these militias will always be opposed to Boko Haram, particularly if they continue to advance against government forces (this has been true for rebel groups in Syria that were initially opposed to ISIS and other hardline jihadist groups, but ended up allying with or defecting to these same groups).

And it should be noted that Boko Haram has not been the only actor targeting Christians in the north. Muslim militias have been attacking Christian areas for years. Observers on the ground express concern that the real-world effect of these militias will be to create a parallel system to the Nigerian government and eventually grab power in the north. Many Muslims in the north would love to break away from the political influence and governmental control of the Nigerian government, where they are forced to share power with the Christian majority. Thus, many of these calls for Muslim militias by Islamic authorities are couched in openly anti-government rhetoric.

5) Targeting of children: When nearly 300 school girls were abducted from Chibok in April, it grabbed the world’s attention. Some were able to flee, but reportedly 219 remain captive. Last month, Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau said that the girls had converted to Islam and had been married off. When Boko Harm stormed the town of Lassa on December 3, they carried away 20 more girls.

But while girls are targeted for abduction, boys are targeted for killing. Just last month, dozens of young men were killed when a suicide bomber dressed as a student bombed a morning assembly. This targeting of school-age boys is a pattern for Boko Haram, such as when they attacked a boarding school in Yobe state back in February where boys were shot, had their throats slit, or were burned alive when their dorms were set on fire.

6) Women suicide bombers: Last Wednesday, two young girls in hijabs conducted a dual suicide bombing in a high-traffic textile market in Kano city, the largest city in the north. Another 13-year-old girl was found wearing an explosive vest just hours later. Boko Haram is using young female suicide bombers at an increasing and disturbing rate, thoughthis tactic is not isolated to their operations in Nigeria and has been endorsed elsewhere by preeminent Islamic scholars like Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The use of female suicide bombers requires security forces to target women as well as men, and then the terror group is able to use the “abuse” of women being searched as a propaganda ploy. What is especially troubling is a VICE News report last week that indicated that Boko Haram has dispatched 50 female suicide bombers in the hopes of inflicting 100,000 casualties.

7) Jihadist jail breaks: ISIS has used jail breaks to effective use in Iraq, busting out al-Qaeda operatives of the infamousAbu Ghraib prison last year and Mosul and Tikrit earlier this year. Those released have helped swell the terror group’s ranks. So too with Boko Haram, which staged a jail break earlier this month that released 300 prisoners, and one on Sunday that freed another 200. The BBC reported in November that Boko Haram jail breaks had at that time freed 2,251 prisoners, and that they had launched an attack on a French cement plant and recovered a large cache of dynamite that could be used for future jail breaks. With thousands of Boko Haram operatives and supporters presently in jails, along with hardened criminals conditioned to violence, targeting more jails will continue to swell their ranks.

8) Government impotence: One of the primary factors emboldening these power grabs has been the ineffectiveness of the Nigerian military to roll back Boko Haram’s gains. Relatively few small scale victories by government forces are overshadowed by continuing gains by Boko Haram. To mask the problem, the Nigerian government has issued a media blackout in many of these areas and imposed a moratorium on foreign media visas. While President Jonathan’s administration has come under fire for not adequately protecting its own people, it has seemed to be more concerned about its public relations in Washington, D.C. than in regaining the public trust of its own citizens.

A study published this week by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization found that Boko Haram was responsible for 801 deaths last month alone, with more people killed by terror attacks in Nigeria than in Syria or Afghanistan.

NBC News noted last week that Boko Haram’s violence is now on par with ISIS in Iraq, which is why in 2013 Nigeria climbed to fourth in the Global Terrorism Index, up from seventh in 2012 and twelfth in 2011. According to the Council on Foreign Relations tracker, the violence in Nigeria from May 2011 (when President Jonathan came into office) to November 2014 has claimed more than 26,000 lives. Now there are reports that Nigerian special forces have uncovered plans by Boko Haram to expand their attacks by targeting 25 communities in five different states.

But you would never know how desperate the situation is in Nigeria in light of the absence of any urgency or alarm from the Obama administration or from Congress.

It’s worth repeating: Congress had to drag a reluctant Clinton State Department kicking and screaming to get Boko Haram designated in November 2013. Members of Congress also discovered earlier this year that the Clinton State Department intentionally lied and downplayed the threat from Boko Haram, and worked to kill bills in both the House and the Senate calling for their designation in 2012.

At the same time, 21 American academics sent a letter to Hillary Clinton strongly arguing against Boko Haram’s designation in response to the Department of Justice’s National Security Division urging the State Department to do so.

But the November 2013 designation of Boko Haram and the offensives by ISIS in Syria and Iraq have allowed Congress to get distracted as well.

There are considerable national security and other strategic interests for the United States in Nigeria. But as the country teeters on the brink in the face of Boko Haram advances, Washington, D.C. is asleep at the wheel. The risks of inattention and inaction in Nigeria threaten to jeopardize the whole of Africa.

USA Policy on Nigeria – See No Jihad, Hear No Jihad, Say No Jihad

J. Peter Pham PhD of the Atlantic Center; Emmanuel Ogebe of Jubilee; Anselm John-Miller of the Movement for Ogoni People; and Robin Renee Sanders former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria. Note the Nigerian Ambassador seated behind Mr. Ogebe. http://jubileecampaign.org/congressional-hearing-on-boko-haram-and-the-continued-violence-in-nigeria/

J. Peter Pham PhD of the Atlantic Center; Emmanuel Ogebe of Jubilee; Anselm John-Miller of the Movement for Ogoni People; and Robin Renee Sanders former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria. Note the Nigerian Ambassador seated behind Mr. Ogebe. http://jubileecampaign.org/congressional-hearing-on-boko-haram-and-the-continued-violence-in-nigeria/

Obama Administration can find no jihad in murders and kidnappings in the name of Islam in Nigeria

By Andrew Harrod:

American Nigerian policy is to “see no jihad, hear no jihad, say no jihad,” the Nigerian human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe from the Jubilee Campaign criticized in submitted testimony for a September 18 congressional hearing.  Along with Christian girls who escaped kidnapping by the jihadist group Boko Haram (BH), Ogebe and others at recent Washington, DC, briefings analyzed Nigeria’s bloody security crisis.

“Stop the denial,” Ogebe stated at the hearing while his prepared remarks criticized United States government agencies for blaming Nigerian conflict on socioeconomic grievances.  “Contrary to” this “recurring…narrative,” BH has “made amply and repeatedly clear” that it is an “Islamist insurgency” seeking an “Islamic Sharia state,” Ogebe wrote.  A BH video, for example, proclaimed “Jihad war against…Christianity…western education, democracy.”

The result is “possibly the worst on-going genocide against Christians” even as globally “Christianity is the most persecuted religion.” “More Christians were killed in Northern Nigeria in 2012 than the rest of the world,” for example, while official reports ranked BH the “second most deadly terrorist group in the world right below the Taliban.”  In total, BH has killed over “10,000 people since 2009, both Nigerian nationals and international victims…from over 15 nations—far more than ISIS, AL Qaeda and possibly the Taliban.”

BH has “not beheaded an American…not for want of trying,” given several abduction attempts in northern Nigeria.  “I want to cut White people,” BH leader Abubaker Shekau stated in a video shortly after the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) beheaded American journalist James Foley.  Several Americans, though, survived an August 26, 2011, BH bombing of United Nations’ Nigerian headquarters in the capital Abuja, including one recently identified.

BH’s “threat to not only Nigerian people but also the world” has a “well documented nexus with global jihad,” as shown by Nigerians captured fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary visiting Nigeria.  Groups like BH and ISIS globally “feed off each other,” as BH schoolgirl kidnappings have inspired ISIS sex slavery and BH has emulated ISIS’ caliphate declaration.  BH is “paralleling” ISIS atrocities, religious freedom expert Nina Shea seconded Ogebe on a September 19 Hudson Institute (HI) panel, with “clear confirmation” of BH Islamization in Nigeria under a “very brutal religious cleansing.”

“Starving refugees on mountaintops, towns overrun and their Christian population exterminated, children decapitated” characterize not just Iraq, but northern Nigeria, Ogebe wrote.  “Practically every ignoble deed” of ISIS “has been done by Boko Haram in the last three years.”  A “putative third world war” is occurring in an “incremental,” “retail,” or “franchise” manner or, as Pope Francis I recently declared, “piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”  An “iron veil” in some countries has replaced the iron curtain’s tyranny, Ogebe assessed.  “We are all in this together,” Ogebe stated at HI given jihad’s global reach in countries like Iraq, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

“Violent Jihad is as Violent Jihad does” and “cannot be rationalized,” Ogebe’s congressional testimony criticized in assessing American attributions of BH violence to, for example, deprivation.  Nigeria is Africa’s wealthiest economy and BH bribes people from neighboring Niger to fight, Ogebe argued at a September 9 Rayburn House Office Building briefing.  The “good old days” before BH, in contrast, already exhibited Muslim animus against Nigerian Christians; Ogebe recalled a Christian student illegally forced to kneel in the sun while receiving Islamic instruction in a Muslim-majority area.  “Violent jihadist groups are never about an inclusive government,” Ogebe meanwhile qualifies American concerns about sectarianism in Iraq and Nigeria, “they are about an exclusive government.”

Yet “Violent Extremist Organization” or VEO, not jihadist, is the description for groups like BH in American training undergone by African military officers.  An equally anodyne “junket-filled tenure” marked America’s last Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Suzan Johnson Cook.  She covered a “record 27 countries in 29 months” with equal time in Nigeria and Ghana, a country with few religious freedom concerns.  While the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “is playing to the gallery” now by calling BH terrorists, Ogebe noted on September 9, she resisted this designation as secretary of state.

Media such as the Wall Street Journal and American officials have often presented BH as equal opportunity killer. BH’s “campaign against all Nigerians,” for example, concerned Undersecretary of State Sarah Sewall at the September 18 hearing.  (Sewall also did not “have numbers in front of me” concerning Christianity as the world’s most persecuted faith and speculated that claims of more Christians killed in Nigeria in 2012 than the rest of the world “might not be accurate.”)  Yet BH only attacks Muslims “for cause” such as government collaboration in the midst of wholesale targeting of Christians.  Thus about 90% of the 276 schoolgirlskidnapped by BH on April 14 were Christian from Chibok, a specifically targeted majority-Christian community.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

Media Confused as Boko Haram Claims to Join the Islamic State

boko-haram_3016074bCenter For Security Policy, By Kyle Shideler:

In a video released over the weekend, AbuBakr Shekaku, head of the Nigerian jihadist group known as Boko Haram, appears to have declared allegiance to the Islamic State, proclaiming lands currently under Boko Haram control in the province of Borno part of the “Caliphate.”

Despite this, much of the Western media seemed confused about the nature of a Caliphate and what it means. From the AFP report:

In a July video, Shekau voiced support for the leader of the Islamic State and the Levant (Isil) militants Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in late June declared himself “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere”. But there was no indication from Shekau in the latest video that he was associating himself with Baghdadi, whose Sunni Muslim fighters have taken over parts of Iraq and Syria. As such, it was not clear if Shekau was declaring himself to be a part of Baghdadi’s call or if he was referring to a separate Nigerian caliphate.

The position of Caliph is one with purported dominion over the entire “ummah” the total collective of the Muslim faithful.There can only be one legitimate Caliph, and one Caliphate, as Shekaku is no doubt aware. Given that the  laudatory language Boko Haram has in the past offered towards the IS Caliphate, the most likely conclusion would be that Boko Haram either has joined, or intends to join the Islamic State of Al-Baghdadi. It would be incongruous for Shekaku to praise IS, and then negate its primary achievement by denying it legitimacy by claiming he was the true Caliph.

It’s worth noting that while this confusion over whether or not Boko Haram was declaring for the IS Caliphate or declaring its own Caliphate was echoed in all the western reporting which followed from the AFP report, the same confusion is not at all present in an OnIslam.net report, which draws from the same AFP wire.  The OnIslam.net report also ignores the extraneous historical detail of the Sokoto caliphate, a 19th century Nigerian Islamic state which laid claim to the Caliphate title. This is a classic example of how the disinclination to study Islamic law on matters leads to injecting unnecessary complexity into the analysis of events.

If it is the case that Boko Haram has acknowledged the territory it controls as part of the IS Caliphate, this is a major development for the Islamic State. The claim of authority by its “Caliph” Al-Baghdadi has largely been rejected by other Jihadist groups, with only minor exceptions. Yet being recognized as receiving the bay’at (oath) of notable scholars and jihadi emirs who hold actual territory is central to Al Baghdadi’s claim of legitimacy. Of course whether either group is capable of meeting the perceived obligation of such an oath, sharing and exchanging resources, personnel etc, is an entirely other matter.

Also see:

Nigeria death toll higher than reported

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

Town Hall:

GWOZA, Nigeria (BP) — The death toll from Boko Haram’s takeover of the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza is nearly 1,000, not the 100 included in many reports, Nigerian relations expert Adeniyi Ojutiku told Baptist Press.

The Nigerian military abandoned their weapons and fled Gwoza as Boko Haram attacked Wednesday (Aug. 6), burning government buildings, killing residents and taking hostages. Some residents managed to flee to the mountains bordering Cameroon and are without food or water; others made it 85 miles north to Maiduguri, Associated French Press (AFP) and others reported.

News surfaced just today (Aug. 15) of a separate Aug. 10 attack on the remote village of Doron Baga in northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram kidnapped dozens of boys and men, leaving women, girls and young children abandoned there.

Boko Haram has escalated its attacks to a new level, capturing towns and hoisting Boko Haram flags instead of killing residents and fleeing, Ojutiku said. He compared them to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). As such, a concerted global effort is needed to conquer the rebels, he said.

Weeks before taking over Gwoza, Boko Haram violently seized Damboa and killed many in the town 22 miles north of Chibok, the site of the April kidnapping of 300 school girls, approximately 223 of which remain missing. Reports number those displaced at more than 15,000, but the number of deaths had not been reported.

“This is a new dimension in this crisis,” Ojutiku said. “A completely new dimension. Now they are following the strategy of ISIS. They attack, they occupy, they hold the town. Now that they have started adopting ISIS methodology, they should be receiving the type of treatment that ISIS is receiving.”

Based on a report Ojutiku received Wednesday, Aug. 13, from a trusted colleague who lives in Gwoza, 997 had been killed and others had been taken hostage. Previous reports were based on information gathered Aug. 6, the day of the attack, when survivors were forced to flee the city of between 50,000 and 70,000 people.

“The terrorists seized a number of residents as hostages and killed nine hundred and ninety seven an eye witness whose mother among the women that are burying the … bodies confirmed,” the colleague reported to Ojutiku. “The insurgents took over the Emirs (mayor’s) Palace as well as a Government Lodge in Gwoza, and have appointed a replacement for the town’s fleeing Emir. They have hoisted their black flags with Arabic insignia all over Gwoza in a show of their total control of the territory.”

A predawn, Aug. 13 phone call Ojutiku received from Nigeria marked “an unprecedented emergency request for prayers for the inhabitants of the Christian village of Gwoza,” he told Baptist Press.

“The town has … been under siege of Boko Haram for the past nine days,” Ojutiku said.

Read more

See Also:

Boko Haram: Growing Interest, Continuing Uncertainty on Capitol Hill

By Andrew E. Harrod:

About 90 Congressional staffers filled a Dirksen Senate Office Building hearing room last May 28 for “Boko Haram:  Beyond #BringBackOurGirls,” a Foreign Policy Initiative briefing on Nigeria’s Muslim terrorist group.  While the audience was “telling how much interest has grown in this group” for panelist Dr. J. Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council, the briefing indicated several complicated issues in the struggle against Boko Haram.

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Islamic terror group Boko Haram

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Islamic terror group Boko Haram

A rescue operation for these girls “just makes no sense,” the Atlantic Council’s Rudolph Atallah specifically commented, as their scattering makes success “next to impossible.”  Previous rescue operations in Nigeria and the region had ended in hostage deaths, concurred Blanchard, perhaps necessitating negotiations for the girls’ release.  These failures were part of wider panelist concerns with respect to Nigerian security forces, often ill-equipped and counterproductively harsh in their tactics.  Nigeria’s army actually “is not a poor and starving military,” Blanchard argued, yet corruption often consumed needed resources.  Nigeria had purchased nine Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), for example, but they currently do not operate.The April 14 Boko Haram kidnapping of 276 schoolgirlsin Chibok, Borno state, is “really only a drop in the bucket” of Boko Haram’s bloody record, although Boko Haram’s recent international notoriety largely derived from this event, Pham observed.  Boko Haram had caused 4-6,000 deaths, noted Laureen Ploch Blanchardfrom the Congressional Research Service (CRS).  The United Nations (UN) estimated six million people affected by Boko Haram’s violence in an “incredibly important country” with Africa’s largest economy and population (about 180 million). Alone Nigeria’s Muslim population was Africa’s largest Muslim community and one of the largest in the world, observed Pham.

Divergence, however, marked panelist discussions of Boko Haram’s character.  Boko Haram is a “branch of Al Qaeda that is in Africa,” Kansas Representative Mike Pompeo flatly declared in introducing the panel.  Boko Haram’s “evil barbarians” who kidnapped the Chibok girls were part of a “threat of global jihadists” facing America, recently manifested by a foiled 2013 bomb plot in Wichita close to Pompeo’s home.  A “larger, more diverse” Al Qaeda (AQ) in places like Nigeria and Syria is threatening the United States “at a full gallop,” making Nigeria an “enormous American national security interest.”  AQ has indeed “metastasized,” as President Barack Obama often says, yet contradicting Obama, AQ has become more dangerous, not less.

“Marked by economic deprivation,” by contrast, was Pham’s description for Boko Haram’s origins in northeastern Nigeria, raising thereby past controversies concerning whether material need or Muslim zeal was a greater motivation for Boko Haram.  While a “great bit of economic angst” resulted for this region from, for example, lost textile jobs, the area’s “ethnically marginalized” Kanuri tribe also had political grievances against a negligent federal government.  “Boko Haram 2.0” emerging in 2009 and “increasingly virulent,” though, has a “more standard Salafist line” while Boko Haram’s current leader Abubakar Shekau has made video appearances in “classic Al Qaeda fashion.”

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

Also see:

Boko Haram violence explodes; the West struggles to “understand”

Mitigating Religious Conflict in Nigeria
Boko Haram in Focus at Washington, DC, Briefings

by Andrew Harrod:

(Washington, DC) Nigeria’s jihadist group Boko Haram was recently featured in several Washington, DC, briefings, including a presentation by a Nigerian teenager who was the lone survivor of a family massacred by Boko Haram.  These briefings highlighted significant challenges in combating Boko Haram’s brutal terror campaign.

Deborah Wakai Peters was forced to watch the murders of her father and brother at the hands of the Boko Haram.

Deborah Wakai Peters was forced to watch the murders of her father and brother at the hands of the Boko Haram.

Fifteen-year old Deborah Peters appeared at a May 13 Hudson Institute panel to discuss a December 22, 2011, Boko Haram attack on her home near Chibok in Nigeria’s Borno state.  Peters saw Boko Haram assailants, one of whom she knew, shoot her pastor father.  Targeted after rebuilding his church which had been burnt down by Boko Haram the previous November, the pastor suffered martyrdom after refusing to recant his Christian faith.  The terrorists then killed her brother as well, and left the young girl lying between the bodies.

The girl’s mother, described by Nigerian human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe as a Muslim convert in “one of those strange love stories that doesn’t end very well,” was not in the house at the time.  Nonetheless, she cannot return home as Boko Haram would kill her as an apostate.  Another pastor who helped bring Deborah Peters to the United States was himself a victim of a May 2013 Boko Haram attack.

Boko Haram has perpetrated “massive genocides” of Christian Nigerians in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria in order to establish a Muslim rule, with Taliban-style stadium beheadings in the “old-fashioned way,” Ogebe noted.  The terror group marked Christian dwellings for subsequent nocturnal attacks and had an “MO” of close range “shoot to kill” headshots.  While sporadic killings of Christians are “normal in northern Nigeria,” such as when Muslims blame Christians for an eclipse, Boko Haram presents “persecution on steroids.”  Boko Haram attacks, for example, have “virtually de-Christianized” Nigeria’s Yobe state, Ogebe wrote online, leaving hardly 80 pastors where once over 1,000 churches existed, a percentage loss greater “than the decimation of Christians in Iraq.”

Twice denied an American visa for insufficient family ties (“You can’t make this stuff up,” Ogebe observed), Deborah Peters had a low profile once in the United States.  Ogebe and his colleagues “tactically decided not to put her in a public space” because “we could not sacrifice the mental health of this young child” suffering from trauma.  International outcry over Boko Haram’s April 14 kidnapping of hundreds of mostly Christian girls, however, some of whom Peters had “literally…played with” moved her to “put a face to this travesty,” in Ogebe’s words.

The April 14 attack marked Boko Haram’s transition away from “gentlemen terrorists,” Ogebe noted.  Boko Haram in the past had often spared women, children (in an exception, Boko Haram feared that Peters brother would grow up to be a pastor like his father), and the elderly — in what Ogebe had described online as a “religious gendercide.”  Boko Haram had now moved to “gender-based targeting of women,” though, after the men had left various regions to avoid death.  Girl captives who had escaped Boko Haram horrifyingly related how their captors had forced them upon pain of death to convert to Islam and marry Boko Haram supporters.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalitionn with video

 

Boko Haram Reportedly Ready to Exchange 100 Girls

Clarion Project, Published on May 19, 2014

Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the Clarion Project, speaks about the latest news concerning the close to 300 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Islamist terrorists Boko Haram. A news report says the terrorists are ready to exchange 100 girls for 100 of their low-level fighters and the wives and daughters of Boko Haram fighters being held by the Nigerian government. Although the exact location of the girls has not been found, satellite images show temporary camps of Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest that may be where the girls are being held. Unfortunately, Nigerian forces lack the training and equipment to rescue the girls from this massive area.

 

Nigeria & Islamic Extremism: Briefing by Fmr Deputy Dir. of the Mossad:

 

Clarion Project, Published on May 14, 2014

Former Deputy Director of the Mossad Ilan Mizrachi gave this exclusive briefing to the Clarion Project on Boko Haram and Islamic extremism in a global context. Originally delivered to members of the diplomatic community and members of the press, Mizrachi spoke about the extremist Islamist ideology that drives Boko Haram and the other terrorist groups it is connected to. His thirty plus years of experience enabled him to accurately and insightfully clarify the difficulties facing the Nigerian government in tackling Boko Haram and shed light on the tactical decision Boko Haram made in targeting schoolgirls.

Boko Haram release chilling videos of missing Nigerian schoolgirls

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  • Some of the schoolgirls captured by extremist group Boko Haram on April 14 have been paraded on video
  • More than 200 girls were abducted by the Islamist militants from a village in the north-east of Nigeria
  • Boko Harum leader has said that he will release the captured girls in return for militant prisoners being freed
  • The Nigerian government has reportedly rejected this offer and has two army divisions hunting for the seized girls
  • Governor of state where they were seized – Borno – claims to know where they are
  • Kashim Shettima said he’d received reports of sightings of the girls and had passed this information to the military
  • Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, calls for negotiations with the terrorist group, which he says is ‘merciless’

 

By Ted Thornhill, Jack Doyle and Jason Groves:

Some of the schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic militant group Boko Haram have been paraded on video.

The terror group said many of them had been converted to Islam while being held and all those on the footage are wearing headscarfs.

The group’s leader said that it will release them in exchange for militant prisoners being freed.

The Nigerian government has reportedly rejected this offer and has two army divisions hunting for the seized girls.

Some girls on the 17-minute-long video, which was obtained by news agency AFP, spoke to camera, and looked extremely nervous.

The girls recite Islamic prayers during the clip as they sit in a group in a wooded area.

After the girls appear the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, wearing military fatigues and holding an AK-47, addresses the camera. He appears confident and at one point laughs.

‘All I am saying is that if you want us to release the girls that we have kidnapped, those who have not accepted Islam will be treated as the Prophet (Mohammed) treated infidels and they will stay with us,’ he said, according to a translation of his words originally spoken in a Nigerian language.

‘We will not release them while you detain our brothers,’ he said, before naming a series of cities in Nigeria. It was not clear whether he was in the same location as the girls.

The video came through channels that have provided previous messages from Shekau, who speaks in the video in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria.

The video, which shows around 130 of the girls, was aired after the governor of the Nigerian state from where they were kidnapped said that he knew where some of them are being held.

Kashim Shettima, the Governor of Borno, said that he’d received reports of sightings of the girls and had passed on this information to the military.

Extremist group Boko Haram seized 276 girls who were taking exams at a school in Borno’s north-eastern village of Chibok on April 14. Some managed to escape, but around 200 remain missing.

Mr Shettima told the BBC: ‘We’ve got reports of them being sighted in some locations – which we have conveyed to the relevant military authorities, for them to cross-check, verify and get additional information on the accurate location of the daughters.’

His comments came as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called for negotiations with the terrorist group over the fate of the missing girls.

The Archbishop, who has acted as a hostage negotiator in Nigeria on behalf of the Church in the past, said the girls were at ‘colossal’ risk.

‘They are in the hands of a very disparate group which is extremely irrational and difficult to deal with – and utterly merciless,’ he told BBC Radio Four’s The World This Weekend programme.

Read more at Daily Mail

Chibok Affair: The Emerging And Uncomfortable Facts

”The girls that have been kidnapped are being raped up to 15 times a day by their captors and that those amongst them that have refused to convert to Islam are having their throats cut ”

By Fani-Kayode:

Now that the operational leadership and visible face of Boko Haram, in the person of the filth called Mr.  Abubakar Shekau (aka Darul Tawheed), has finally admitted that they were responsible for the abduction of hundreds of our school girls and that they intend to ‘’sell them in the market  like slaves’’, it is pertinent and necessary for us to consider some  of the emerging, though uncomfortable, facts.

This will enable us to understand the nature of who and what we are dealing with and allow us to consider what the appropriate response ought to be if we really want to solve the problem. Permit me to share the following facts that have been brought to my attention:

1.  That the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has told us that 90 per cent of the girls that were abducted from their school at Chibok were Christians.

2. That President Goodluck Jonathan himself alluded to this during his last media chat when he said that ‘’the majority’’ of girls that were abducted were Christians.

3. That the majority of the girls that either ‘’escaped’’ or were released by their abductors were Muslims.

4. That the Governor of Borno State refused to accept the counsel and abide by the directives of WAEC that the exams should not take place in Chibok due to the precarious security situation and instead he insisted that the exams should take place there and that he would guarantee the security of the children.

5. That the Christian Association of Nigeria has formally accused the Governor of Borno State of ‘’conspiracy and collusion’’ and they have urged him to tell us exactly where the girls are and what he knows about the whole incident.

6. That the girls that have been kidnapped are being raped up to 15 times a day by their captors and that those amongst them that have refused to convert to Islam are having their throats cut (read the testimony of one of the girls that ‘’escaped’’ on page 8 of the Vanguard Newspaper, 5th April, 2014).

7.  That  there was not a single adult in the school grounds watching over the 278 girls that entire night apart from one security man and that there was no electricity, no generator, no principal, no matron, no house master and no house mistress in the grounds with them.

8. That the children were all alone in their dormitories that night in the blistering heat and deepest darkness before the Haramites arrived to burn their school and carried them away into captivity.

9. That the soldiers that were guarding the school in Chibok were redeployed a  few hours  before Boko Haram launched their attack and abducted the children.

10. That up till now pictures of the abducted girls have not been produced or released by the school authorities or the state government.

11. That this was a predominantly christian School and that Chibok is a predominantly Christian community.

In my view, these facts are relevant and instructive. When one considers them, the picture of what really happened at Chibok on that tragic night, what the real intentions of the abductors and their secret sponsors were and what is really going on now is getting clearer by the day.

Ordinarily, whether the children are Christians, Muslims, pagans or atheists really should not matter because, regardless of their faith, we want them all back and we must fight for them all to be returned to their homes and loved ones.

Read more at Vanguard

Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation.