Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Rising Threat from Nigeria's Boko Haram Militant Group

Via STRATFOR (Security Weekly) -

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, issued a warning Nov. 5 indicating it had received intelligence that the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram may have been planning to bomb several targets in the Nigerian capital during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, also known as Eid al-Kabir, celebrated Nov. 6-8. The warning specifically mentioned the Hilton, Nicon Luxury and Sheraton hotels as potential targets.

The warning came in the wake of a string of bombings and armed attacks Nov. 4 in the cities of Maiduguri, Damaturu and Potiskum, all of which are located in Nigeria’s northeast. An attack also occurred in the north-central Nigerian city of Kaduna. The sites targeted in the wave of attacks included a military base in Maiduguri and the anti-terrorism court building in Damaturu. Militants reportedly attacked these two sites with suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). The Nigerian Red Cross reported that more than 100 people were killed in the attacks, while some media reports claimed the death toll was at least 150.

According to AFP, a spokesman for Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks Nov. 5 and threatened more attacks targeting the Nigerian government until “security forces stop persecuting our members and vulnerable civilians.” On Nov. 7, a Boko Haram spokesman claimed that his group employed only two suicide operatives in the attacks and not 12 as reported by some media outlets.

Though Eid al-Kabir passed without attacks on Western hotels in Abuja, a deeper examination of Boko Haram is called for, with a specific focus on its rapidly evolving tactical capabilities.

Read more: The Rising Threat from Nigeria's Boko Haram Militant Group | STRATFOR


CFR Backgrounder: Boko Haram

Boko Haram, an Islamist religious sect, has targeted Nigeria's police, rival clerics, politicians, and public institutions with increasing violence since 2009.

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