BBC VIDEO: Islamic Militant Group Boko Haram blows up Nigerian police station
The terrorists bomb and murder without a trial for the victims. Now the government fights back with swift street justice.
A shadowy Islamist insurgency that has haunted northern Nigeria — surviving repeated, bloody efforts to eliminate it — appears to be branching out and collaborating with Al Qaeda’s affiliates, alarming Western officials and analysts who had previously viewed the militants here as a largely isolated, if deadly, menace.
Just two years ago, the Islamist group stalking police officers in this bustling city seemed on the verge of extinction. In a heavy-handed assault, Nigerian soldiers shelled its headquarters and killed its leader, leaving a grisly tableau of charred ruins, hundreds dead and outmatched members of the group, known as Boko Haram, struggling to fight back, sometimes with little more than bows and arrows, reports the New York Times.
improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that can be detonated remotely and bear the hallmarks of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Western officials and analysts say. Beyond the immediate devastation, the fear is that extremists bent on jihad are spreading their reach across the continent and planting roots in a major, Western-allied state that had not been seen as a hotbed of global terrorism.
In the past two years, Boko Haram has met and trained with Qaeda affiliates outside the country, American and Nigerian officials and analysts say, and the group has begun waging a propaganda campaign that includes conference calls with reporters — another sign of its growing sophistication.
“Where are they getting this knowledge of I.E.D.’s?” said Kashim Shettima, the new governor here. “Some of them went as far as Sudan. Why? I believe they are making efforts to reach out to the global terrorism network.”
About 140 people have died in the violence since January, according to Amnesty International, including dozens of civilians killed by the military. Most of Boko Haram’s attacks have occurred here in this city at the edge of the Sahara, but there have also been blasts farther south in Kaduna and outside the national police headquarters in the capital, Abuja.
|Islamic terrorism in Nigeria targets Christians.|
Several dozen civilians were killed in June when bombs were hurled into the rudimentary outdoor beer parlors that exist furtively on the Christian-minority fringes here.
Shariah law exists in this overwhelmingly Muslim region, but in a relatively loose form. Not all women are veiled, and beer and wine can be obtained — apparently an affront, the authorities here say, to the group’s goal of imposing strict Islamic law.
Boko Haram, however, is rapidly evolving. It has a virulent Web site taunting the security services, promising “more attacks on the way!!!” all “in the name of Allah,” and inviting e-mails to “nigjihadist” — additional signs of outside influence, analysts say.
WARNING - GRAPHIC:
Nigerian Police Publicly Execute Suspected Islamic Terrorists
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