A Dutch intelligence firm says that Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram is planning attacks around the time of Christmas with the help of diaspora in the U.S. and Europe.
Four years ago on Christmas Day, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to detonate plastic explosives on a Northwest Airlines flight coming into Detroit. Abdulmutallab was linked to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Since then, an alliance in Northern Africa has grown between Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Somalia’s Al-Shabaab, and Boko Haram. The Obama administration has largely written off the al-Qaeda growth here as a regional problem with limited capability for attacking the U.S.
A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee heard at a chilling November hearing that Boko Haram has not only been beheading Christians with chainsaws, but activists have had trouble getting the State Department to acknowledge the religious nature of the Islamic terror group’s aims.
At the hearing, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield admitted that Washington doesn’t know the size of Boko Haram, just estimating that Boko Haram and splinter group Ansaru number in the “mid-thousands.”
Ultrascan HUMINT services said intelligence from inside Boko Haram indicates that the group is planning to activate operatives within the diaspora this month to attempt attacks “of an unprecedented scale.”
“The synergy in the nexus of cross border organized crime, ideology and terrorism is defining the opportunities, scope and size of terrorist organizations and attacks. Therefore comparing Boko Haram with other terrorist organizations like AQIM and Al Shabaab starts flawed because of the size of Nigeria’s population, Diaspora and the global presence of its organized crime,” the intelligence firm wrote in its alert.
“Africa is a Key Continent for The Al Qaeda Terror Network as a large center of ‘recruitment’ and Terror acts toward the west are increasingly planned from Africa and executed by Africans. Similar to other Al Qaeda affiliates, the scope of the threat by Boko Haram lies in Nigeria’s population and its large Diaspora. The Muslim population of Nigeria is favored by Al Qaeda because it already is disenfranchised, marginalized, and estranged from its Christian led government,” the alert continues.
“Long term, Al Qaeda has a dualistic and holistic strategy for development and deployment, in recent years it purged and took control of Al Shabaab and Boko Haram. It induced the ‘Al Qaeda Strategic Value Pyramid’ including best practices and cost efficiency for international attacks by combining services of independent providers and to attain its goals it trades support, resources or action with cross border criminal organizations. Boko Haram must be considered most advanced, well prepared, disciplined and solid financed terror organization in 50 years. Very effective because of many incorporated lessons learned during the decades of Al Qaeda.”
“…In a diversified threat environment where multiple Al Qaeda affiliates are taking advantage of security gaps, Nigerian criminal networks throughout the world position Boko Haram in the frontline of Al Qaeda and it is vital that we anticipate this threat.”
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a recent video that his group is ready to “comfortably confront the United States of America.”
Jacob Zenn, a research analyst of African and Eurasian Affairs for The Jamestown Foundation, told lawmakers last month that the U.S. intelligence community needs more linguists for source analysis in Hausa, Fulani and other indigenous African languages as well as a greater partnership with the Nigerian diaspora — just a couple of steps in a multi-pronged strategy to fight Boko Haram. Both Boko Haram and Ansaru receive “significant funding” from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. He confirmed that both groups “can carry out attacks throughout West Africa.”
“They are more likely to target U.S. interests and personnel in southern Nigeria as a next step before the U.S. homeland,” he said.