The independent Vanguard newspaper in Lagos, Nigeria, reported “authoritatively” in its Sunday edition that al-Qaeda has taken control of the country’s Boko Haram terrorist group.
The paper also confirmed that Nigerian security forces have uncovered Boko Haram camps out of their reach in Cameroon.
Boko Haram and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have been cooperating for a few years in a deadly nexus of terror groups that also includes Somalia’s Al-Shabaab.
Adds the Vanguard report:
As far back as 2010, intelligence sources said “the Algerian government had said available intelligence reports confirmed that extremist Nigerian Islamic group, Boko Haram, has linked up with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which has its North African headquarters in Algeria.”
One of the sources added, “The revelation confirms Nigeria’s intelligence services assessment and worries that the previously unknown group has received training and support from al Qaeda.
“Even at that time, Algerian Deputy Foreign Minister, Abdelkader Messahel, told journalists that intelligence report showed both groups had been coordinating.
”We have no doubts that coordination exists between Boko Haram and al Qaeda.”
…Sunday Vanguard was reliably informed that “the group sent out some six members to Algeria to learn how to make Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs.” A security source said, “Indeed, the students, in the light of Boko Haram’s bombing raids, appeared to have learnt well.
…The source disclosed that the funding the sect members enjoy is not only derived from their robbery activities but from their links with AQIM; the sophistication of their attacks is also as a result of the strong involvement of AQIM.
U.S. Africa Command has previously noted that AQIM was inviting Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab to come train and join forces in a chunk of terrorist-controlled territory the size of Texas. The French pushed al-Qaeda out of some of its Mali territory, but the strength of the allied groups remains.
The White House designated Boko Haram as a terrorist group in mid-November. At a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing that month, 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.”
Weeks later, a Dutch intelligence firm said that the Nigerian terrorist organization was planning attacks “of an unprecedented scale” with the help of diaspora in the U.S. and Europe.
At the end of December, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau coffed at the $7 million bounty put on his head by the Obama administration, vowing to “decapitate and mutilate” more people in his jihad.
Shekau said in another video that his group is ready to “comfortably confront the United States of America.”
“The administration’s foreign policy has ignored this serious and growing threat,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, told PJM in November. “It’s come from North Africa and it’s become a breeding ground for extremist activities.”
“Boko Haram is mainly locally against Nigeria,” Gen. David Rodriguez of U.S. Africa Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. “It is spreading out a little bit to two or three countries out on the edge of that, mostly for support, but that’s really a local effort.”