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Monday, 27 February 2012

NEWS

Boko Haram’s rage has local roots

KANO, Nigeria — In an imam’s quiet office, two young men in long hooded robes, their faces hidden by checked scarves, calmly described their deadly war against the Nigerian state. A member of Boko Haram, an Islamist group that has staged deadly attacks in Kano, in northern Nigeria. “Millions of people in Kano State are supporting us,” he said.

The office door was open. Children from the Koranic school adjoining the mosque streamed past, laughing and jostling. Worshipers from the evening prayer service, which the young men had just left, poured into the parking lot. If the police had been alerted in any way, the two young men would have been instantly arrested, or worse. But neither appeared nervous about possible betrayal.
“It is not the people of Nigeria, it is only the army and the police who are against us,” said one of the men, explaining their membership in Boko Haram, the militant group that has claimed responsibility for killing hundreds in its battle against the Nigerian government. “Millions of people in Kano State are supporting us.”
His bravado notwithstanding, the violent Islamist army operating out of these dusty alleyways, ready to lash out and quickly fade back, is deeply enmeshed in the fabric of life in this sprawling metropolis, succored by an uneasy mix of fear and sympathy among the millions of impoverished people here.
The group’s lethality is undeniable. Boko Haram unleashed a hail of bullets and homemade bombs here last month to deadly effect: as many as 300 were killed in a few hours in the group’s deadliest and most organized assault yet after two years of attacks across northern Nigeria. It was an unprecedented wave of coordinated suicide bombing, sustained gunfire and explosions, much of it directed against the police.
But while Western and local officials cite the militants’ growing links to terrorist organizations in the region — presenting the ties as a reason behind the group’s increasingly deadly tactics and a cause for global concern — Boko Haram is not the imported, “foreign” menace Nigerian authorities depict it to be.
Since 2009, the group has killed well over 900 people, Human Rights Watch says. Yet on the streets of Kano, the government is more readily denounced than the militants. Anger at the pervasive squalor, not at the recent violence, dominates. Crowds quickly gather around to voice their heated discontent, not with Boko Haram, but with what they describe as a shared enemy: the Nigerian state, seen by the poor here as a purveyor of inequality.
“People are supporting them because the government is cheating them,” said Mohammed Ghali, the imam at the mosque where the two Boko Haram members pray. Imam Ghali is known as an intermediary between the militants and the authorities, and while open backing for the group can put almost anyone in the cross hairs of the Nigerian security services, there appears to be no shortage of Boko Haram supporters here.
“At any time I am ready to join them, to fight injustice in this country,” said Abdullahi Garba, a candy vendor who came into Imam Ghali’s office.
Of course, Boko Haram is feared and loathed by countless residents as well. Its brutal show of firepower here in Kano, a commercial center of about four million that for centuries has been a major entrepôt at the Sahara’s edge, has left many residents in shock. The attackers came on foot, by motorcycle and by car, throwing fertilizer bombs and pulling rifles from rice sacks, mowing down anybody who appeared to be in uniform. There were even decapitated bodies among the mounds of corpses the day after, said a witness, Nasir Adhama, who owns a textile factory with his family near one of the attack sites.
“When you saw this road, it was just shed with blood,” Mr. Adhama said. “Everywhere there were dead bodies. They passed through this place, just firing and shooting.”
One of the young men at the mosque said he had participated in the planning for the attack, asserting that the group had received no outside help.
But a United Nations report published in January cited regional officials as saying that “Boko Haram had established links with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” and that “some of its members from Nigeria and Chad had received training in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb camps in Mali during the summer of 2011.” Seven Boko Haram members passing through Niger were arrested with “names and contact details” of members of the Qaeda affiliate, the United Nations report said. 

New York Times.....Musa Ibrahim contributed reporting.

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Editor's Mail

Love the article on Gaddafi
We must rise above tribalism & divide & rule of the colonialist who stole & looted our treasure & planted their puppets to lord it over us..they alone can decide on whosoever is performing & the one that is corrupt..but the most corrupt nations are the western countries that plunder the resources of other nations & make them poorer & aid the rulers to steal & keep such ill gotten wealth in their country..yemen,syria etc have killed more than gadhafi but its not A̷̷̴ good investment for the west(this is laughable)because oil is not in these countries..when obasanjo annihilated the odi people in rivers state, they looked away because its in their favour & interest..one day! Samosa Iyoha

Hello from
Johannesburg
I was amazed to find a website for Africans in Hungary.
Looks like you have quite a community there. Here in SA we have some three million Zimbabweans living in exile and not much sign of going home ... but in Hungary??? Hope to meet you on one of my trips to Europe; was in Steirmark Austria near the Hungarian border earlier this month. Every good wish for 2011. Geoff in Jo'burg

I'm impressed by
ANH work but...
Interesting interview...
I think from what have been said, the Nigerian embassy here seem to be more concern about its nationals than we are for ourselves. Our complete disregard for the laws of Hungary isn't going to help Nigeria's image or going to promote what the Embassy is trying to showcase. So if the journalists could zoom-in more focus on Nigerians living, working and studying here in Hungary than scrutinizing the embassy and its every move, i think it would be of tremendous help to the embassy serving its nationals better and create more awareness about where we live . Taking the issues of illicit drugs and forged documents as typical examples.. there are so many cases of Nigerians been involved. But i am yet to read of it in e.news. So i think if only you and your journalists could write more about it and follow up on the stories i think it will make our nationals more aware of what to expect. I wouldn't say i am not impressed with your work but you need to be more of a two way street rather than a one way street . Keep up the good work... Sylvia

My comment to the interview with his excellency Mr. Adedotun Adenrele Adepoju CDA a.i--

He is an intelligent man. He spoke well on the issues! Thanks to Mr Hakeem Babalola for the interview it contains some expedient information.. B.Ayo Adams click to read editor's mail
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