A school house in Potiskum, Nigeria is burned after a gun battle and explosions by the “Boko Haram” sect in the northeast besieged city. A construction worker from China was killed in the attack. Officials are concerned for the safety of other foreign workers.
The Boko Haram has been conducting large scale terrorist attacks covering an area of 900 miles across Nigeria with a goal in mind of taking over the Nigerian government. Al Qaeda is in control of neighboring Mali with their other affiliated groups. The fear is that these militant groups will join together and become even more effective and destructive.
Jacob Zenn said in a phone interview with the Washington Times that some Nigerians have crossed into Mali to join al Qaeda and could cross back into their own country. What’s more, Boko Haram militants could learn bomb-making and other deadly skills from their Mali compatriots. Jacob Zenn is a Legal Advisor – General Washington, D.C.
Boko Haram militants have killed hundreds of Nigerians, including women and children, in bombings across the West African nation. Targets have been, Christian churches and other religious and political objectives. Boko Haram’s name means “Western education is forbidden.”
“They used to drive around on motorcycles using guns and machetes,” Mr. Zenn explained, “but now their attacks and weapons have become more sophisticated.”
Boko Haram in Nigeria and al Qaeda across the border into Bali share a common goal. They both intend to take over the government. Working together they could expand their operations and increase the size and strength of their troops.
Nigeria’s oil-production lies in the mostly Christian south, where Boko Haram has begun to expand its operations. Both militant groups, Boko Haram al Qaeda could gain a significant source of funding if they are able to control the oil-producing south. They both envision a fundamentalist Islamic government to replace the corruption that already exists in the area. Mr. Zenn said, “They kill religious and political leaders that are more moderate. They don’t show any type of mercy.”
Washington believes that the al Qaeda operating out of Bali had a hand in the Benghazi attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that killed four Americans. Although the U.N. did not provide any details, the Security Council unanimously approved the concept of an African-led military force to help Mali’s army in fighting the Islamic insurgents.
The Associated Press reported one plan that is on the table; Mali’s embattled government in the south with their West African neighbors could take the military lead against the militant terrorist groups supported by the United States and a few European countries.
“Boko Haram has been trying to set up a shadow government in Nigeria,”
Mr. Zenn said. “They have been intimidating civilians to pay taxes to them,” and he insisted that “military intervention in Mali next year appears inevitable.”
One of the problems is that some of the Muslim government and military officials in Nigeria support the Boko Haram’s goals of excluding secular Muslim and Christian politicians as well as those who advocate electoral democracy. They do not want democracy, they want Islamic control.
Mr. Jacob Zenn suggested that intervention has to be coordinated with other West African nations so that an already unstable, flammable situation will not be made worse. “We can root out the militants, but where will they go?” He asked rhetorically not expecting an answer, “Will they seep into Nigeria or Niger?”