Two Nigerian affiliates of the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — Boko Haram and the Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis- Sudan — are planning major reprisals to protest Nigeria’s participation in the Mali war, SUNDAY PUNCH authoritatively reports.
Nigeria has deployed
forces in northern Mali to flush out the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist groups
who have taken control of the vast desert territory.
hours after the Mali mission, terror operations increased in the
northern part of the country with not less four attacks in three days
leading to the death of about 30 people.
responsibility for the attack on Mali-bound soldiers in Kogi State and
the kidnap of a French citizen, Francis Colump, in Katsina State, the
sect said its actions were based on France and Nigeria’s major role in
the attack on Islamists in northern Mali.
Security agents told
SUNDAY PUNCH that the sects, particularly JAMBS, planned to protest
Nigeria’s participation in the Mali war, in the form of bomb attacks and
kidnap of expatriates. It was learnt that whileJAMBS would concentrate
on foreign targets, Boko Haram would focus on local targets.
top intelligence officer, who pleaded anonymity because he was not
authorised to speak on the matter, said, “The survival of JAMBS and Boko
Haram depends on the survival of the Islamists in Mali. If the
terrorists in Mali are wiped out, that is the end of the ones in Nigeria
and that is why Nigeria is at the fore-front of the Mali war.
have reports that the violent sects here have been instructed to
increase their terror acts and it is not surprising. That is why they
have become very restive in the North. We are at the border to intercept
whatever arms they are planning to bring in. We also have plain-clothes
security men in the North monitoring activities. We are ready for
The Deputy Public Relations Officer of the police, Frank
Mba, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the police were aware of the “plans” of the
sects, but he declined to provide details. Mba stated that the war in
Mali was necessary to put an end to terrorism in that country.
the terror groups in Nigeria receive major financing and training from
Mali and it is expected that they will not be pleased with the war. They
get support from Mali and we know they are not happy we are with the
war, but Nigerians cannot to be held hostage. We are ready for them. We
owe Nigerians a duty to be in Mali to totally eradicate terrorism from
Nigeria,” he said.
Similarly, the President of the Northern Civil
Society Coalition, Mr. Shehu Sani, stated that the war in Mali posed a
security challenge because JAMBS and other sects that are sympathetic to
Malian Islamists would target countries that contributed troops to the
multinational force battling Islamists in the country.
has to cover its tracks at home. We are vulnerable to reprisals. There
is no doubt that terrorists in Mali will inflict damage on countries
participating in the war,” he said.
Meanwhile, JAMBS, has
launched a massive recruitment drive in the North. Reliable sources in
the security services told one of our correspondents that the sect aimed
to be “bigger and deadlier” than the better known Boko Haram sect.
recent times, JAMBS, which has been described as an international
terror group, has claimed responsibility for some headline-grabbing
terrorist acts. It was learnt that the ongoing recruitment by the sect,
targets young persons, mainly men, indoctrinated to fight for the cause
of the sect.
Even though the recruitment is restricted to the
North for now, SUNDAYPUNCH gathered that the sect had plans to stretch
its search for recruits to other parts of the country.
Sani said JAMBS was more dangerous than Boko Haram and that “foreign interests have much to fear from the new group.”
is in competition with Boko Haram and it won’t be difficult for them to
get recruits in a society of millions of disenfranchised youths. It
will be easy for them to get volunteers from the lower rung of the
society. Its agenda is different from Boko Haram’s. The group is
strictly toeing the instructions of the al-Qaeda which is to target
foreign groups and persons.
“What makes this group very dangerous
is their mobility. You cannot say this is where they are located. They
operate a mobile command and no part of Nigeria is immune to their acts.
If they can attack troops in Kogi, that tells you the nature of the
“It is difficult to estimate their actual number because
they are not in a particular position, but I can tell you that they have
high capacity to inflict lethal damage and to also carry our operations
without being caught.” he said
Sani said the sect was not interested in “local matters” like Boko Haram.
Federal Government needs to know that this new group is interested in
issues of global significance like events happening in Mali, the Middle
East and in the Maghreb. The kidnapping of expatriates is an indication
of what this group is about. They have a clear intention to pursue the
agenda of the al-Qaeda. They are charting a new course beyond the shores
of Nigeria,” he added.
Mba however said it would be difficult for the sect to have a base in the North.
can’t tell you what we know about JAMBS. But it is important that we
point out that it will be difficult for them to have a base in the North
due to the heavy presence of the police and the military,” he said.
The Federal Government had said the deployment of Nigerian troops in Mali was necessary to protect Africa from terrorism