Boko Haram Islamist Cult

ramonmercado

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This is the first I've heard of this cult holding hostages.

Hostages freed in Nigeria clashes
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8174399.stm

Bodies of suspected Islamists lay outside Maiduguri's police HQ
Police in Nigeria have freed more than 180 women and children from a house in the north of the country where they had been held by a radical Islamist sect.

They told the BBC they were held for six days and lived on dates and water.

They were rescued in Maiduguri, where heavy fighting continues between troops and militants of the Boko Haram sect.

Boko Haram is blamed for attacks on police stations and government sites in northern Nigeria, triggering violence that has killed at least 150 people.

The women and children were said to have been abducted from the town of Bauchi, where the violence erupted on Sunday.





Nigeria's 'Taliban' enigma
Eyewitness: Nigeria attacks
Fear and tension after attack
Boko Haram is led by Mohammed Yusuf, who has his base in Maiduguri, capital of Borno province.

Security forces flooded into Maiduguri and began attacking Mohammed Yusuf's compound on Tuesday, shelling it with heavy weapons and exchanging gunfire with militants.

The fierce fighting continued through the night and into Wednesday.

The officer commanding the operation, Col Ben Ahanotu, told the BBC the militants were well-armed and keeping up a steady stream of fire.

He said there were at least 250 armed men guarding Mohammed Yusuf's home, also the headquarters of the sect.

'Foreigners'

There were about another 1,000 people inside the enclave, all believed to be followers of Boko Haram.

Col Ahanotu also said that papers and personal items found on the bodies of the young men that have been killed indicated that many of them were not Nigerian and appear to have come from neighbouring Chad and Niger.


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President Yar'Adua said 'a potentially dangerous problem' had been tackled
Four states in northern Nigeria have been affected by the violence involving Boko Haram - Borno, Bauchi, Kano and Yobe.

Boko Haram is against Western education. It believes Nigeria's government is being corrupted by Western ideas and wants to see Islamic law imposed across Nigeria. President Umaru Yar'Adua has ordered Nigeria's national security agencies to take all necessary action to contain and repel attacks by the extremists.

"These people have been organising, penetrating our societies, procuring arms, learning how to make explosives and bombs to disturb the peace and force abuse on the rest of Nigerians," he said before departing on a trip to Brazil.


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The aftermath of gun battles with the militants

Maiduguri police said 103 had died in the violence in the city, including 90 members of Boko Haram.

In Bauchi, scene of the first bloodshed on Sunday, 176 people remain under arrest. At least 39 people were killed in Bauchi.

Sharia law is in place across northern Nigeria, but there is no history of al-Qaeda-linked violence in the country.

The country's 150 million people are split almost equally between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south.

1. Edit to fix title.
2. Edit to fix title.
 

ramonmercado

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150 die as Nigerian Islamist groups go on the rampage

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Thousands of Nigerians sheltered in barracks in the northern city of Maiduguri yesterday after days of clashes involving Muslim rebels which have killed at least 150 people across four states.

Members of a local Islamic group have burned churches, police stations and a prison and set off petrol bombs near residential areas in the unrest. Local police said 103 people, most of them rioters, had been killed in Maiduguri alone.

The rioters are supporters of a radical Islamic preacher opposed to western education, who critics say has whipped some students and illiterate, jobless youths into an anti-establishment frenzy over a period of years.

The latest unrest was triggered when some members of the group called Boko Haram, which wants a wider adoption of Islamic sharia law across Africa’s most populous nation, were arrested in Bauchi state. Violence then spread to the states of Kano, Yobe and Borno, of which Maiduguri is the capital.

“When we heard shooting and saw people running we just packed the family and joined them,” said Sunny Nwankwo, a journalist who fled to one of two barracks in Maiduguri sheltering thousands of civilians.

Residents said youths armed with machetes, knives, bows and arrows, locally made hunting rifles and home-made explosives had attacked police buildings and anyone resembling a police officer or government official, causing hundreds of families to flee.

Isa Azare, spokesman for Maiduguri police command, said 90 of the rioters as well as eight police officers, three prison officials and two soldiers had been killed. – (Reuters)

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor ... 76585.html
 

segovius

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I am really glad that finally the word 'cult' is being used.

Cults have always existed and from the Thugs to Hassan i Sabah to Charles Manson they have killed people and oppressed people. It's what they do.

The sad fact of the matter is that the 'Islamist Threat' is a massive lie perpetuated on the public for gain by various governments. And they did gain....across the board.

Al Qaeda is just a cult. The Taleban are just a cult. Aum was just a cult.

But Aum was never portrayed as part of a 'Buddhist Threat' because there was no gain. But it is the same thing. Exactly the same.

Maybe we are starting to stop being lied to. Good news.
 

ramonmercado

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I deliberately added Cult to the headline. Unfortunately its not in the original BBC headline.
 

ramonmercado

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Islamist death 'good for Nigeria'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8177681.stm

The BBC has seen images of the dead body of Mohammed Yusuf. WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT


In pictures

A Nigerian government minister has expressed relief at the death of an Islamic sect leader whose capture police announced on Thursday.

But Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC the government "does not condone extra-judicial killings".

Human rights campaigners have voiced concern at Mohammed Yusuf's death.

The group he led has been blamed for days of violent unrest. Hundreds of people have died in clashes between his followers and security forces.

His group - known as Boko Haram or Taliban - wants to overthrow the Nigerian government and impose a strict version of Islamic law.

The bullet-riddled body of Mohammed Yusuf, 39, was seen hours after police announced he had been captured in the northern city of Maiduguri.

The BBC's Bilkisu Babangida says the city is returning to normal, with shops and banks re-opening.

She says many residents are happy that Mr Yusuf is dead.

'Shocking'

Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC's Network Africa that she was concerned about the death and that the government would find out "exactly what happened".

However Mohammed Yusuf's demise was "positive" for Nigeria, she added.

"What is important is that he [Yusuf] has been taken out of the way, to stop him using people to cause mayhem."


AT THE SCENE

Bilkisu Babangida
BBC News, Maiduguri
At about 1600 I was about to leave for home with the rest of the journalists. We received a phone call to return back to the government house because the man, Mohammed Yusuf, had been captured.
So we rushed up to that place. We heard some gunshots from somewhere, then we were told that the man had been "executed" at the police headquarters, at about 1900.

They kept us waiting, they kept all the newsmen away from the scene.

I saw a video and after that I rushed to the police headquarters and I saw the corpse. I even photographed the corpse of Mohammed Yusuf.

She accused Mr Yusuf of "brainwashing" youths to cause trouble.

Ms Akunyili praised the security forces, saying they had managed to stop the violence spreading even further and that normality was returning to the region.

Human Rights Watch staff said there should be an immediate investigation into the case.

"The extrajudicial killing of Mr Yusuf in police custody is a shocking example of the brazen contempt by the Nigerian police for the rule of law," said Eric Guttschuss, of the New York-based rights group.

Another Human Rights Watch researcher, Corinne Dufka, told AP news agency: "The Nigerian authorities must act immediately to investigate and hold to account all those responsible for this unlawful killing and any others associated with the recent violence in northern Nigeria."

'Trying to escape'

Troops had stormed Boko Haram's stronghold in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri on Wednesday night, killing many of the militants and forcing others to flee.





No surprise at Nigeria killing
In pictures: Clashes aftermath
Nigeria's 'Taliban' enigma
Islamist death: Your reaction
Mr Yusuf was arrested the following day after reportedly being found hiding in a goat pen at his parents-in-law's house.

Later, a BBC reporter in the city was among journalists shown two films - one apparently showing Mr Yusuf making a confession, the other showing what appeared to be his body, riddled with bullets.

"Mohammed Yusuf was killed by security forces in a shoot-out while trying to escape," the regional police assistant inspector-general, Moses Anegbode, told Nigerian television.

A spokesman for the state governor was also quoted as saying that Mr Yusuf had been trying to escape.

One policeman told AFP news agency Mr Yusuf had "pleaded for mercy and forgiveness before he was shot."

'Inspirational'

The violence began on Sunday night in Bauchi state, before spreading to other towns and cities in the northeast of the West African nation.

Crowds of militants tried to storm government buildings and the city's police headquarters, but dozens of them were shot dead by security forces.

Several days of gun battles between militants and Nigerian security forces ensued, culminating in the assault on the militant's stronghold.

It is thought more than 300 people have died in the violence - some estimates say 600, although there has been no official confirmation.

The Red Cross said about 3,500 people had fled the fighting and were being housed in their camp.

Witnesses and human rights groups have accused the military of excessive violence in quelling the militants, but the army says it used a minimal amount of force.

Police say Mr Yusuf was a preacher from Yobe state, who had four wives and 12 children.

They described him as a inspirational character.

His sect, Boko Haram, is against Western education. It believes Nigeria's government is being corrupted by Western ideas and wants to see Islamic law imposed across Nigeria.
 

ramonmercado

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Nigeria seeks last sect members
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8179747.stm


Nigerian security forces are searching houses in Maiduguri to find remaining members of an Islamist sect blamed for violence which left hundreds dead.

Bodies have been littering the streets, causing concern about risks to health.

Controversy continues over the death of the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed Yusuf.

The police say he was killed in a shootout while he was being detained. But an army commander says he was captured, and handed over, alive.

A BBC reporter in Maiduguri says the city is beginning to return to normal, with shops and banks re-opening. But, she says, there are still decomposing bodies on the streets.

She adds that many residents are happy that Mr Yusuf, who led the Boko Haram sect, is dead.

Col Ben Ahanotu, the commander of the operation against the Boko Haram group, said he had personally captured Mr Yusuf, 39, and handed him over to the chief of police.

He said Mr Yusuf was unarmed when caught, hiding in an empty building a short distance from his enclave, and that he gave himself up willingly.

Col Ahanotu said Mr Yusuf had a wound on his arm which had already been treated.

"But he was OK. As I got him alive, I handed him over to the authorities," he said.

A Nigerian police officer points at a corpse in the northern city of Maiduguri on 29 July 2009
The security forces are searching houses and people in Maiduguri

Regional police assistant inspector-general, Moses Anegbode, had earlier told Nigerian television Mr Yusuf had been "killed by security forces in a shoot-out while trying to escape".

Human rights campaigners have alleged Mr Yusuf was shot by the police.

His bullet-riddled body was shown to journalists on Thursday just hours after police said they had captured him in Maiduguri.

The BBC reporter in the city was among journalists shown two films - one apparently showing Mr Yusuf making a confession, the other showing what appeared to be his body, riddled with bullets.

One policeman told AFP Mr Yusuf had "pleaded for mercy and forgiveness before he was shot."

Nigeria's Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC that how Mr Yusuf had died was "a big issue to the good people of this country because Nigeria believes in the rule of law, Nigeria believes in fundamental human rights being respected".

She said his death would be investigated but that the security agencies should be "commended for being able to bring to a stop this killing and destruction in just a few days".


map

No surprise at Nigeria killing
In pictures: Clashes aftermath
Nigeria's 'Taliban' enigma
Islamist death: Your reaction

Rights groups have condemned the alleged manner of Mr Yusuf's death.

Human Rights Watch said there should be an immediate investigation into the case, which it has described as an "extrajudicial killing".

Amnesty International said that anyone responsible for or tolerating illegal killings should be brought to justice.

Boko Haram - also known locally as Taliban - wants to overthrow the Nigerian government and impose a strict version of Islamic law.

Troops stormed Boko Haram's stronghold in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri on Wednesday night, killing many of the militants and forcing others to flee.

'Excessive force'

The violence began on Sunday night in Bauchi state, before spreading to other towns and cities in the north-east of the West African nation. Crowds of militants tried to storm government buildings and the city's police headquarters, but dozens of them were shot dead by security forces.

Several days of gun battles between militants and Nigerian security forces ensued, culminating in the assault on the militant's stronghold.

It is thought more than 300 people have died in the violence - some estimates say 600, although there has been no official confirmation.

The Red Cross said about 3,500 people had fled the fighting and were being housed in their camp.

Police say Mr Yusuf was a preacher from Yobe state, who had four wives and 12 children.

Boko Haram opposes Western education. It believes Nigeria's government is being corrupted by Western ideas and wants to see Islamic law imposed across Nigeria.
 

ramonmercado

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Whatever you think of this cult, extra-judicial executions by the police cannot be excused. If they get away with this then they will do the same to trade unionists, civil rights campaigners etc.


Sect leader 'alive when captured'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8180475.stm


Mohammed Yusuf, bare-chested and with a bandage on his arm, surrounded by soldiers
The photograph shows Mohammed Yusuf in army custody

The BBC has obtained a photograph which shows that Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria, was alive when captured by the army.

They handed him over to the police. A few hours later, journalists were shown his bullet-ridden body.

The police said he had been fatally wounded while trying to evade capture.

Mr Yusuf's Islamic sect is blamed for days of violent clashes with security forces across northern Nigeria, which killed hundreds of people.

Human Rights Watch in Nigeria have called for an immediate investigation into the killing of Mr Yusuf, 39, which they called "extrajudicial" and "illegal".

On Friday, the army commander of the operation against the Boko Haram group, Col Ben Ahanoto, said he had personally captured Mr Yusuf and handed him over to the chief of police in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

He said Mr Yusuf had a wound in his arm - which is clearly shown in the photograph - which had already been treated.

The police, however, insisted he had been fatally wounded in combat.

The abducted women huddle together in the shade, with one child standing in shabby clothing
Officials said the group were in a deplorable state

The police commissioner of Borno state, Christopher Dega, said Mr Yusuf "was in a hideout, and the forces went there and there was an exchange of fire".

"In the course of that confrontation, he sustained his own injury. He was picked up and he later couldn't make it."

Earlier, police sources had offered a different version of events, saying Mr Yusuf was killed while trying to escape from custody.

Meanwhile, another group of women and children, abducted by the Boko Haram sect, has been rescued from a locked house in Maiduguri.

Officials said the latest group of 140 was in a deplorable condition, suffering from pneumonia, fever and rashes.

Last week, the police rescued about 100 young women and children from a house on the edge of the city. Many said they were the wives of sect members, and had been forced to travel to Maiduguri from Bauchi state.

The BBC reporter in Maiduguri says the Boko Haram sect believed that their families should accompany them to the battlefield.


map

No surprise at Nigeria killing
In pictures: Clashes aftermath
Nigeria's 'Taliban' enigma
Islamist death: Your reaction

Hundreds of people were killed in Maiduguri alone during violent clashes between police and the Islamic sect.

Col Ben Ahanotu, head of security in Maiduguri, said that mass burials had begun there.

The Boko Haram compound, he said, was being used as one of the burial sites because bodies were decomposing in the heat.

Life in the affected areas is now beginning to return to normal with banks and markets reopening.

Maiduguri is the capital of Borno state but the fighting spread to cities across the north of the country and the total number of dead is unknown.

A military spokesman said two of those killed were soldiers and 13 were police officers.

The number of injured, meanwhile, is still being counted. The Red Cross had earlier said about 3,500 people fled the fighting.

The violence ended on Thursday with the death of Mr Yusuf.
 

ramonmercado

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Importantly in the midst of their own grief the Christians are also concerned about the manner in which Boko Haram died: Tina Lambert, CSW’s Advocacy Director said:
“We are disturbed by indications that the Boko Haram leader may have been killed extra-judicially."

Nigeria - Christians lament a lack of international concern over Boko Haram bloodshed
http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=894
06/08/2009

Mens tent in IDP camp set up after Bauchi town violence
Christians in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri are expressing increasing dismay at what they perceive as a lack of international concern for the suffering of their communities. As funerals continue, local estimates of the death toll rise to over 1000.

During last week’s violence, Islamist Boko Haram militants attacked both government and Christian targets, killing individuals and taking many civilians captive for possible use as human shields against government forces besieging their compound in Maiduguri’s Railway District. Once in the camp, male captives were given a choice between conversion to Islam or death, while women and girls were kept on as hostages. Survivors of the siege informed CSW sources that the Boko Haram leader, Yusuf Mohammed, personally oversaw the forcible Islamisation of hostages, and the execution of anyone who refused to convert.

Yesterday, Maiduguri’s Good News Church held a memorial service for one of these hostages. Pastor George Orji was beheaded in the Boko Haram compound, and his body left in a mass grave there. He leaves behind a heavily pregnant wife, and two children aged two and four.

On 4 August around 3000 people took part in the funeral service for Rev Sabo Yakubu, the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) church pastor whose heart was removed from his body by Boko Haram militants. Three other Christians whose charred remains were found in the ruins of Jajere National Evangelical Mission were also buried on that day. One of the bodies is thought to be that of Pastor Elijah Samuel, who was hacked to death by militants.

Over 800 people are now officially estimated to have died in last week’s violence. This number is likely to rise as many missing civilians are now presumed dead and possibly buried in mass graves dug by the authorities in a bid to avert the spread of disease. Earlier CSW was informed that a University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) worker had estimated that around 1000 corpses were deposited in the hospital mortuary on Monday 27 July alone. The number of people displaced during the violence also remains unclear, but is thought to be in the thousands.

CSW sources also report that a total of 20 churches were destroyed during the violence. In February 2006 Maiduguri was the scene of the infamous "Cartoon Riots" during which 57 churches were destroyed and over 60 Christians were killed. Surviving victims of that violence have still not received compensation.

Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi said: "It is unfortunate that the mayhem unleashed on the Church is systematically downplayed in the media. The first victim was the ecclesia, which was subjugated and sacrificed prior to any attack on the establishment, yet no report is pointing to Christians as the number one target before all others. We will continue to speak out."

There are growing concerns that the furore surrounding the death of the Boko Haram leader may be obscuring the suffering inflicted by the sect on northern civilians, and may eventually raise him to iconic status. Yusuf Mohamed was reportedly killed in questionable circumstances on July 30 while in police custody. Local sources report that pictures purportedly of his bullet-riddled corpse show one of his arms was practically amputated by gunshots.

Tina Lambert, CSW’s Advocacy Director said: “We are disturbed by indications that the Boko Haram leader may have been killed extra-judicially. A full investigation into this claim is needed but it is vital that this does not inadvertently obscure or detract from the appalling nature of the crimes committed by this sect against innocent civilians. There is an urgent need to assist and compensate the deeply traumatised victims, and for action to ensure a definitive end to the cycle of deadly religious violence in Northern and central Nigeria”.
 

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Nigeria police raid Muslim sect
Nigeria map

Nigerian police have raided an isolated Muslim community in the western state of Niger, taking more than 600 people into custody.

A team of 1,000 officers took part in the Saturday morning raid on the Darul Islam community, local media say.

Police say no weapons were found and there was no resistance to the arrests.

The raid comes in the aftermath of the violent uprising of the Boko Haram Islamist group last month in which hundreds of people died.

A BBC correspondent says the authorities may be taking this opportunity to disperse the Darul Islam (or House of Islam) community.



We have not eaten anything since we were brought here and we have women and children among us
Darul Islam resident

The settlement was established in the early 1990s to live according to strict Islamic principles, away from what they see as western decadence.

After the recent bloodshed involving Boko Haram in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, Darul Islam came under official scrutiny.

One of the men taken away by the police told the BBC Hausa service they were being questioned at a secondary school in Makwa, the nearest town.

He said: "We have not eaten anything since we were brought here and we have women and children among us."

"It was a team of security officers including policemen and immigration officers, operating under the instruction of the federal police command, who came to our village."

The inclusion of immigration officers is important, according to Mannir Dan-Ali, editor-in-chief of the Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust.

"The authorities are trying to establish the identity and nationality of the members of the Darul Islam community," he says.

Mr Dan-Ali says those found not be from Niger state may be asked to return to their home states within Nigeria.

"Although the group have not been found to be engaged in anything against the law, the authorities appear to be keen to take this opportunity to disperse the community," he told the BBC.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8203832.stm
 

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Nigerian 'trained in Afghanistan'
Boko Haram sect member Abdulrasheed Abubakar, 23, who says he was trained in Afghanistan
Abdulrasheed Abubakar was paraded by police to make his statement

A member of the Nigerian Islamist sect behind a deadly uprising in July has confessed to receiving military training in Afghanistan, police say.

The member of the sect known locally as Boko Haram and Taliban said he had been paid $5,000 (£3,000) to do the training and promised $30,000 on his return.

The uprising in northern Nigeria left some 700 people dead, mostly militants.

If confirmed it will be the first proven link between Islamists in the oil-rich country and Afghanistan.

Local people called the group Taliban because of the radical beliefs.

For years Western diplomats have feared an al-Qaeda sleeper cell might launch attacks on oil infrastructure in Nigeria, which is an increasingly large supplier to the US.

Weapons cache

The man, 23-year-old Abdulrasheed Abubakar, was shown to the public in the Borno state capital Maiduguri, where the sect was based and which saw the worst violence.


Map

Is al-Qaeda working in Nigeria?

The police also displayed a large cache of weapons and bomb-making equipment recovered from suspected Boko Haram members recently arrested in the northern cities of Yola and Maiduguri.

In July the Boko Haram militants, armed mainly with machetes, launched the simultaneous attacks on police stations in different parts of the north.

Hundreds of them were killed as the security forces retaliated.

The sect said it was fighting against Western education and believed Nigeria's government was being corrupted by Western ideas.

It wanted to see Islamic law imposed across the country.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8233980.stm
 

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Gunmen free 800 inmates in Nigeria
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/bre ... ing25.html
Wed, Sep 08, 2010

Heavily armed gunmen attacked a prison in the central Nigerian city of Bauchi last night, freeing as many as 800 inmates including suspected members of a militant Islamic sect, police said today.

State police commissioner Danlami Yar'Adua said the gunmen killed four people including two bodyguards and set part of the prison on fire.

He said everything possible was being done to track down the escaped prisoners.

“About 50 men with machine guns came to the prison site, forced the prison open and released all the prisoners," one Bauchi resident said.

Residents said the attackers were believed to be members of Boko Haram, a radical Islamic sect behind an uprising which killed hundreds of people in and around the northern city of Maiduguri a year ago.

Followers of Boko Haram - which means "Western education is sinful" in the Hausa language spoken across northern Nigeria - want Islamic sharia law imposed more widely across Africa's most populous nation.

The Bauchi prison was holding members of the sect who were detained after last year's uprising.

The killing of several policemen in recent weeks, and of two traditional rulers in the past week, had already raised fears in Maiduguri that Boko Haram was making a return

Security has been tightened in Maiduguri, with the police and army carrying out joint patrols and a dusk-to-dawn ban imposed on motorcycles, which have been used by gunmen to carry out the recent attacks.

Symbols of government authority, including police stations, prisons and schools, were among the buildings attacked at the beginning of last year's uprising.

Nearly 800 people were killed, many of them shot by the security forces, in gunbattles which raged for days as the police and army fought to put down the uprising by sect members armed with home-made guns, machetes and knives.
 

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Nigeria Boko Haram sect 'shoots two in Maiduguri'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11493657

Nigeria police officers in Maiduguri (July 2009) The violence began when Boko Haram supporters attacked a police station last year

Two people have been shot dead in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri in the latest attacks blamed on the Boko Haram sect.

A senior opposition politician and a policeman were both killed by gunmen on motorcycles, police say.

Fifteen people, including 10 police officers, have now been killed in recent weeks.

Clashes between Boko Haram and the police in July 2009 left hundreds dead.
Continue reading the main story
Related stories

* Nigeria's 'Taliban' enigma
* Is al-Qaeda working in Nigeria?
* Sect leader 'alive when captured'

The army has been deployed to the city and motorbikes banned at night in a bid to stop the attacks.

But last month, hundreds of people suspected of being Boko Haram members escaped after gunmen attacked the prison where they were being held in the city.

The BBC's Bilkisu Babangida in Maiduguri says no-one has been arrested for the ride-by shootings since they began in August.

She says Alhaji Awana Ngala was a senior figure in the opposition All Nigeria People's Party and was also related by marriage to the governor of Borno state.

The policeman was shot outside the house of the speaker of the state's legislature. A number of other people were wounded in the attack.

She says the city's residents are afraid of more shootings, even though Boko Haram have made it clear they are targeting the police and politicians.

The violence started last year when Boko Haram members attacked a police station in Maiduguri before clashes spread to neighbouring areas.

Most of those who died were supporters of the sect, which is also known locally as the Taliban and wants to see Islamic law imposed across Nigeria.

It is opposed to Western education and accuses Nigeria's government of being corrupted by Western ideas.

The sect's leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was among those killed, apparently after he was handed over alive to the police.
 

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Maiduguri: Nigeria's city of fear
By Andrew Walker
Maiduguri

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12713739

Related Stories

Is al-Qaeda working in Nigeria?
Sect leader 'alive when captured'
Nigeria country profile

No-one in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri knows who to be afraid of most, a group of Islamist militants known as Boko Haram or the police.

The sect, thought to have been eliminated after a brutal uprising in 2009 in which hundreds of people were killed, is back and its members want revenge.

For the past five months they have been fighting a guerrilla war, killing policemen and people they believe helped the security services in the fight against them.

Residents of the city in the far north-east of Nigeria are trapped in the middle and anyone speaking about the sect does so nervously.


On the surface, life seems normal but no-one will speak about the Boko Haram drive-by shootings
But they say it is the fear of the police which has made it so easy for the group to grow again.

The bustling markets and children playing in the streets belie the anxiety in the city which witnessed bloody battles in July 2009.

At night, although the military and police man checkpoints, life seems almost normal.

However, few people on the streets of Maiduguri would give their names when interviewed about the latest drive-by shootings.

"You never know who they are, they could be among you," said one man, who works near the railway station where 20 months ago the police laid out bodies of dead sect members.

'The Crack'
Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

The police officers guarding me were discussing which one was going to be the one who pulled the trigger”

Ahmad Salkida
Journalist
Nigeria's killer cops
In the line of fire
Officials sealed their lips at the sight of a microphone, afraid to speak out and end up on a list for assassination by Boko Haram.

Traditional leaders who have given information about suspected militants to police have also been executed by gunmen.

The group's trademark attack is to ride up to their target on a motorbike - Maiduguri is full of motorbike taxis - and the pillion passenger opens fire with an automatic weapon, before speeding off.

Afterwards, police are reported to round up innocent people in areas where these hit-and-run executions occur, long after the attackers have sped away.

At the Special Armed Robbery Squad station in Maiduguri - known as "the Crack"- police are holding the wife of a suspected militant who escaped police arrest.

Although they do not accuse her of involvement in the attacks - they are preparing charges of "associating with criminals".

Yakaka, 20, and her two children, both under four, are being held almost as hostages.

"I have told the police the location of my family, but I don't think they have been told I am here. This is the situation I am in. See me here, my children are scared," she said.


Yakaka, the wife of a suspected suspected militant, is effectively being held hostage by the police
Many people in Maiduguri fear that if they bring information to the police they will suffer the same fate, or worse.

Local residents dubbed the sect Boko Haram, which literally means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language, before the uprising.

Sect members had set up a community living by strict Sharia principles around its mosque in Maiduguri. Amid the 2009 trouble, the name was then popularised by the Nigerian media.

However, the group calls itself Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad".

Extra-judicial killing
Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

If you are innocent, we will release you”

Abubakar Mohammed
City police chief
Corpses and denials
On patrol with police
Their charismatic leader Mohammed Yusuf preached that Muslims should withdraw from corrupt, Western society, which included secular education and democracy, and base their lives on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

Yusuf was killed by police after the sect was crushed. Police said he had tried to escape, but many believe he was executed - and the sect is now taking revenge.

The trouble in July 2009 began when officials fearing Yusuf's increasingly radical sermons calling for a jihad against the government sent the security forces to attack the sect's mosque.

Sect members returned fire and for four days had the run of the town in a killing spree.

When their ammunition ran out, the police moved in, killed more people and arrested many others - among them Nigerian journalist Ahmad Salkida.

He had followed the sect's growth since 2002 and was in personal contact with Yusuf before the violence began, so he was accused of being a sect member.

Continue reading the main story

In pictures: Aftermath of July 2009 uprising
He believes he was about to be executed when his life was saved by a senior policeman he knew.

"The police officers guarding me were discussing which one was going to be the one who pulled the trigger," he told the BBC.

During his time in detention he saw as many as 50 young men being taken out of the cell they shared, never to return.

"That extra-judicial killing by the police really created a barrier between security agents and the general population," he said.

"For the average person, you don't like the sect, you don't like their activities, but you are afraid of the police and you don't trust them. It leads to confusion."

'Armoury'
Abubakar Mohammed, newly arrived in Maiduguri and now the city's police chief, admits mistrust of his force has made the police's job difficult.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Once you help the police, you are as good as being a policeman, so we will slaughter you”

Abu Dujana
Boko Haram
"The natives have refused to come forward and co-operate with us, so we are left with no option but to go all out and investigate our targets."

This involves arresting people for questioning.

"If you are innocent, we will release you," he says.

The police commissioner estimates the underground sect members now number about 400.

Last month a random car stop gave the police what he called a "breakthrough" in their investigations.

A cache of weapons was found that included over 800 rocket-propelled grenade shells.

A senior sect member contacted by the BBC by phone said the police's seizure was just part of their "armoury".


Prominent cleric Sheik Bashir Mustapha was shot outside his home in October
Using a nom-de-guerre of a warrior companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Abu Dujana said the sect would slay anyone they considered to be an enemy.

Questioned about the sect's ideology, he said members draw their ideas from the same pool of radical thought as al-Qaeda and Somali group al-Shabab.

"We do not want to hurt civilians, but we do not rule out using suicide bombs in the future."

His anger about the police was palpable.

"Once you help the police, you are as good as being a policeman, so we will slaughter you," he said.

In a warning Maiduguri's residents have taken to heart, Abu Dujana says the sect's fight against the government has only just begun.
 

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ramonmercado said:
Boko Haram

Things have really gone down hill since he did 'Whiter Shade of Pale' haven't they?
 

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Heckler20 said:
ramonmercado said:
Boko Haram

Things have really gone down hill since he did 'Whiter Shade of Pale' haven't they?

Thats what getting into Death Metal does to you.
 

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Vid at link.

Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists 'bombed Abuja police HQ'

An eyewitness told the BBC everybody was scared after the bombing

Nigeria - Troubled Giant

Mapping the divides
Anxiety over poll fallout
Jos: Neighbours are enemies
Maiduguri: City of fear

The Islamist group, Boko Haram, says it carried out Thursday's bombing of Nigeria's police headquarters which left at least six people dead.

The attack comes days after Nigeria's police chief visited the north-eastern town of Maiduguri, where Boko Haram is based and vowed to defeat the group.

The police say one of those who died was a suicide bomber - if confirmed it would be Nigeria's first such attack.

Boko Haram wants to overthrow the state and implement Islamic law.

In 2009, hundreds of Boko Haram supporters, including the group's leader Mohammed Yusuf, were killed after they attacked police stations in Maiduguri and other northern towns.

The group has since reformed and in the past year has killed dozens of police officers, politicians and anyone who criticises it, including Christian preachers and clerics from other Muslim groups.


It has also said it planted several bombs which went off in Abuja and other states after President Goodluck Jonathan's inauguration last month.

"We are responsible for the bomb attack on the police headquarters in Abuja which was to prove a point to all those who doubt our capability," said a statement from the group.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday visited the scene of the blast and urged Nigerians not to panic.

He said all countries were affected by "terrorist attacks".

The president was accompanied by police chief Hafiz Ringim, who may have been the target of the attack.

'Windows shaking'
The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Lagos says that, for the Nigerian authorities, the attack is an embarrassing strike at the very heart of their security establishment.

Continue reading the main story
Who are Boko Haram?

Name given to them by Maiduguri residents means Western Education is forbidden
Want to impose Islamic law
2002: Founded
2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed
2009: Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf captured by army, handed to police, later found dead
Sept: 2010: Freed hundreds of prisoners from Maiduguri jail
December 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80 people and blamed for New Year's Eve attack on Abuja barracks
2010-2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
May 2011: Bombed several states after president's inauguration
June 2011: Police HQ bombed
Full profile
In pictures: Nigeria police HQ explosion
Inspector General Hafiz Ringim went to Maiduguri earlier this week, taking reinforcements and promising that the Boko Haram problem would be solved within months.

Our correspondent says the group's response was delivered directly to police head office in Abuja.

Less than two minutes after Inspector General Ringim arrived for work on Thursday morning, a car that had been following closely behind his vehicle exploded in the car park.

Our correspondent says it is still unclear whether the driver of the car intended to die in the blast.

The blast in the car park of the police base also destroyed many vehicles and a large plume of smoke could be seen rising from the scene.

Residents say the explosion was heard across the city.

"My windows were shaking and I heard the loud noise. I saw smoke coming up," Reuters news agency quotes one witness as telling a local television station.

A bus commuter who saw the blast told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme: "All of a sudden there was this loud explosion. Everybody was scared and people began to run around."

He said police and Red Cross officials had rushed to the scene, and had moved people away from the area.

The police said 33 cars had been damaged beyond repair and 40 more had been partially damaged by the explosion.

The Boko Haram sect accuses Nigeria's government of being corrupted by Western ideas and wants to overthrow the state and impose Islamic law on the country.

It has killed dozens of people, mostly shot by gunmen riding motorbikes, in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
 

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Nigeria's Maiduguri bans motorbikes to stop Boko Haram
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14079792

Motorbikes on a road in Maiduguri (July 2010) Both commercial and private motorbikes have been banned in Maiduguri

Related Stories

* Who are Boko Haram?
* Are Boko Haram getting foreign backing?
* Maiduguri: Nigeria's city of fear

Motorbikes have been banned from the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri to prevent drive-by attacks by the radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

Officials said no-one would be able to ride motorbikes at any time in the city, Boko Haram's stronghold.

The group's trademark has been to use gunmen on motorbikes to assassinate security officers and politicians.

Boko Haram is fighting for Islamic rule and has rejected talks with the government.

At least 40 people have been killed in Maiduguri, the main city in Borno state, in the past two weeks in attacks blamed on the group.

Last month, the group said it had carried out an attack on the headquarters of the Nigerian police in the capital, Abuja, which killed at least six people.
Soldiers attacked

The Borno state government said it was now imposing a 24-hour ban on motorbikes in the city.

"The ban includes private as well as commercial motorcycles of all categories that operate within Maiduguri metropolis," Usman Ciroma, spokesman for the Borno state governor, said in a statement.

Correspondents say motorbikes are one of the most common forms of transport in Maiduguri, as most people cannot afford cars.

The AFP news agency reports that the governor, Kashim Shettima, warned that the ban could be extended.

"If the security situation does not improve following this ban, the government will extend the ban to cover the whole state," he was quoted as saying.

On Wednesday, Boko Haram fighters threw an explosive device at a military patrol in Maiduguri, wounding three officers.
 

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Nigeria Boko Haram threat closes Maiduguri university
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14122175

Boko Haram was formed in Maiduguri to campaign against Western education

Related Stories

Who are Boko Haram?
Are Boko Haram getting foreign backing?
Maiduguri: Nigeria's city of fear

The university in Nigeria's north-eastern city of Maiduguri has closed because of the growing threat by the radical Islamist group, Boko Haram.

The BBC's Bilkisu Babangida in Maiduguri says the move follows strong rumours that the group plans to attack the campus.

Boko Haram opposes Western education and fights for Islamic rule.

In recent weeks, about 40 people have been killed in attacks blamed on the group.

On Tuesday morning, a bomb exploded near an army barracks in Maiduguri, with five casualties reported, our reporter says.

There has also been a blast at a church in the town of Suleja, near the capital, Abuja, correspondents say.

No casualties have been reported.

Last month, Boko Haram bombed the police headquarters in Abuja, killing at least six people.

Our reporter says Maiduguri, a Boko Haram stronghold, is gripped by fear with many people staying indoors.

Residents are worried that the military will carry out indiscriminate arrests as they search for the bombers, she says.

'Motorbike ban'
Continue reading the main story
Boko Haram: Timeline of terror


2002: Founded
2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed
2009: Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf captured by army, handed to police, later found dead
Sept: 2010: Freed hundreds of prisoners from Maiduguri jail
December 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80 people and blamed for New Year's Eve attack on Abuja barracks
2010-2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
May 2011: Bombed several states after president's inauguration
June 2011: Police HQ bombed
June 2011: 25 people killed in attack on bar
University authorities said they had closed the campus because of the growing insecurity in Maiduguri.

They urged students to stay at home under the protection of their parents.

Our reporter says students are packing up and leaving the campus.

Many of them come from other parts of Nigeria and their state governments have promised to help evacuate them from Maiduguri.

Last week, Maiduguri banned all motorbikes to prevent drive-by shootings by Boko Haram.

Boko Haram gunmen often use motorbikes to assassinate security officers and politicians.

The group's official name is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad".

But residents of Maiduguri, where it was formed two years ago, dubbed it Boko Haram.

Loosely translated from the local Hausa language, this means Western education is forbidden.

Residents gave it the name because of its strong opposition to Western education, which it sees as corrupting Muslims.
 

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Nigeria UN bomb: 'Al-Qaeda-linked' man named as suspect
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14734738

Dozens of people were injured in the attack on the UN

Related Stories

Who are Boko Haram?
Nigeria blast: 'I was so scared'
In pictures: Nigeria UN bombing

A man with alleged links to al-Qaeda is suspected of being behind the bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja, Nigerian officials say.

A secret police statement said the man belonged to Islamist group Boko Haram and had recently returned from Somalia.

It said two other Boko Haram suspects had been arrested on 21 August, five days before the bomb, following a warning of attacks in the capital.

Friday's suicide car bombing killed 23 people and wounded more than 80.

Boko Haram, which is fighting for the establishment of Sharia law in Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group is alleged to have had contacts with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates in North Africa, and al-Shabab in Somalia.

"Investigation has revealed that one Mamman Nur, a notorious Boko Haram element with al-Qaeda links who returned recently from Somalia, working in concert with the two (arrested) suspects masterminded the attack on the United Nations building in Abuja," said the secret police statement.

It said Mamman Nur remained at large and appealed for information leading to his arrest, adding that the two suspects arrested on 21 August were being held at a military facility.

They were identified as Babagana Ismail Kwaljima, aka Abu Summaya, and Babagana Mali, aka Bulama, and were described as "notorious leaders of the Boko Haram extremist sect".

They were detained three days after a warning.

"On 18 August, 2011, precise intelligence was obtained by this service that some Boko Haram elements were on a mission to attack unspecified targets in Abuja," said the statement.

Loosely translated from the local Hausa language, Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden".
 

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Nigeria's Boko Haram accused of killing MP Modu Bintube
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15335671

Boko Haram is waging a violent campaign to impose Islamic rule in Nigeria
Continue reading the main story
Related Stories

Nigeria profile
Who are Boko Haram?
Nigeria blast: 'I was so scared'
An MP in north-eastern Nigeria's Borno state has been assassinated by suspected militants from Islamist group Boko Haram police say.

The gunmen killed MP Modu Bintube at his home in the state capital, Maiduguri, they said.

The police also accused Boko Haram militants of bombing an army barracks in neighbouring Gombe state on Sunday.

Boko Haram, which is fighting for Islamic rule, has carried out a wave of bombings and killings in Nigeria.

In August, it bombed the UN headquarters in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, killing at least 23 people.

'Shoot-out'
Borno state police commissioner Simeon Midenda said Mr Bintube was standing outside his home when he was shot dead on Sunday evening, the AFP news agency reports.

"The pattern of the killing is similar to that of how Boko Haram members are targeting their victims," AFP quotes him as saying.

Earlier on Sunday, several explosives detonated at a police barracks in Gombe, police said.

The BBC's Abdullahi Kaura in the northern city of Kaduna says police reported that in the ensuing gun battle, a police sergeant and three suspected militants were killed.

Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates as "Western education is forbidden", is fighting to topple the government and create an Islamic state.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed to defeat the group, which was formed in 2002, after it rejected dialogue with the government.
 

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Nigerian reporter death blamed on Islamists Boko Haram
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15419203

Boko Haram was blamed for the bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja in August.

Related Stories

Nigeria MP 'killed by Boko Haram'
Abuja UN 'bomber' video released
Boko Haram: What You Need To Know

A cameraman for the Nigerian state-run television network has been killed by suspected Islamist militants.

Alhaji Zakariya Isa died after being shot in the head and chest at his home in the northern city of Maiduguri, a military spokesman said.

The authorities in Nigeria have blamed the attack on the Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

The sect is thought to be responsible for a series of attacks in northern Nigeria in recent months.

Boko Haram - which means "Western education is forbidden" - usually targets the police and government officials.

However, in recent weeks, journalists have been threatened by the group, which says it wants sharia law more widely applied across Nigeria.

It said it would target reporters after it claimed spokesmen who were not part of the sect were being quoted by the media.

Boko Haram is thought to have carried out the bombing of UN headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, killing 23 people.

The sect launched an uprising in 2009 which was crushed by the military, leaving hundreds dead.
 

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Nigerian forces hunt killers of 65 in co-ordinated attack
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor ... 68015.html
Mon, Nov 07, 2011

KANO – Nigerian security forces said yesterday they were searching for Islamist militants behind a co-ordinated attack in the north that killed at least 65 people, as residents still in shock demanded the government do more to protect them.

The Boko Haram Islamist sect has claimed responsibility for multiple gun and bomb attacks in the city of Damaturu on Friday in its deadliest attack yet. It left bodies littering the streets and reduced police stations, churches and mosques to smouldering rubble.

“We are ready for them, we are going to comb every place in the state to until we find and deal with them. Our men are ready,” said Suleiman Lawal, police commissioner for Yobe state, of which Damaturu is the capital.

He gave the official death toll as 53. An emergency relief agency that counted bodies in the morgues gave a toll of 65 – 63 from the Damaturu attack and another two from a strike on a neighbouring village, Potiskum.

Residents still in shock questioned how the gunmen were able to take over the city and wreak havoc with such apparent ease.

“I am a Muslim but what is happening in Nigeria now is unacceptable. President Jonathan and his security chiefs should take control of the situation. We are tired of these terrorist acts,” said Abdulgafar Bello (48) a market trader.

The UN Security Council overnight “condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks that occurred in Damaturu and Potiskum”, and urged global “measures to combat terrorism”.

Boko Haram is growing in sophistication. The increasing audacity and deadliness of its attacks, two of which stuck the capital Abuja this year, are becoming a major security headache for Mr Jonathan’s administration.

Friday’s violence also included bomb attacks in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the main base of the group, whose name means “western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a bombing of the UN Nigeria headquarters in Abuja that killed 26 people in August.

The US embassy issued a warning to citizens yesterday to avoid hotels in the Nigerian capital, which it said could be targeted in the next few days. “The US embassy has received information that Boko Haram may plan to attack several locations and hotels in Abuja . . . Targets may include the Nicon Luxury, the Sheraton Hotel, and the Transcorp Hilton Hotel,” it said.

Mr Jonathan rarely comments on frequent attacks in the north, but on Saturday he said he had “directed security agencies to ensure the arrest of perpetrators of these heinous acts, and assure Nigerians that all necessary will be done to ensure safety of lives”.

Many Nigerians were unimpressed. “How can the president use the same cliche to address another mass murder of Nigerians he swore an oath to protect? Why not declare war on Boko Haram? What is wrong with his executive powers? What is wrong with Nigeria?” wrote a blogger on the website of Nigeria’s This Day newspaper. But efforts to make war on Boko Haram have done little to quell insurgency – heavy-handed police tactics in the remote northeast have radicalised youths.

Ultimately, Nigeria may have to address the poverty and sense of alienation in the remote, semi-arid north, which feels increasingly left out of the economic growth enjoyed by the oil-rich south.

A state-sponsored committee in September urged establishing a dialogue with Boko Haram, an idea reiterated yesterday by the governor of Borno, Kashim Shettima. “Governor Kashim . . . calls on the aggrieved sectors of our society to eschew the violent expressions of their grievances . . . and dialogue with the government,” he said.

Residents said life was returning to normal in Damaturu, as Muslims slaughtered sheep to celebrate Eid al-Adha, the Islamic festival of sacrifice. Nigeria, a country of 150 million people split between Christians and Muslims, is mostly peaceful, but militancy is growing in the north and violence in the ethnically and religiously mixed “middle belt”. – (Reuters)
 

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US Congress warns of Nigeria's Boko Haram
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15981656

Boko Haram has staged attacks across northern and central Nigeria

Related Stories

Why can't Nigeria defeat Boko Haram?
Who are Boko Haram?
Foreign backers for Boko Haram ?

A US Congressional report says Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram is an "emerging threat" to the US and its interests.

Boko Haram has carried out a spate of bombings, including in the capital, Abuja, as well as in the mainly Muslim north where the group originated.

The report said it may be forging ties with al-Qaeda-linked groups in Africa.

It comes as Nigeria's defence minister said pro-Gaddafi fighters from Libya were smuggling weapons into the north.

The chairman of the US Congressional committee which drew up the report, Patrick Meehan, told the BBC that the US should work to improve its relations with the Nigerian security services.

"We ought to put much more into developing local intelligence and relationships, and more into cooperating with Nigerian authorities to encourage them to help us work together to understand the nature of the threat," he said.

'Lack of evidence'
The report, presented at a hearing of the House of Representatives subcommittee on counter-terrorism and intelligence, said Boko Haram could threaten the US.

"Boko Haram has quickly evolved and poses an emerging threat to US interests and the US homeland," it said.

The report added that Boko Haram "has the intent and may be developing capability to coordinate on a rhetorical and operational level" with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim), which is active in countries such as Algeria, Mali and Niger, and al-Shabab, which is fighting the weak UN-backed government in Somalia.

Continue reading the main story
Boko Haram: Timeline of terror

2002: Founded
2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed
2009: Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf killed
Dec 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80
2010-2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
May 2011: Bombed several states after president's inauguration
Aug 2011: UN HQ bombed in Abuja
Nov 2011: Dozens killed in north-eastern town of Damaturu
Mr Meehan said Boko Haram's "fast evolution" was worrying, the AFP news agency reports.

"While I recognize there is little evidence at this moment to suggest Boko Haram is planning attacks against the [US] homeland, lack of evidence does not mean it cannot happen," he is quoted as saying.

Boko Haram, formed in 2002, has carried out multiple gun and bomb attacks in Nigeria since 2009.

In August, it bombed the UN headquarters in the capital, Abuja - its first attack on a high-profile foreign target.

Last month, the US embassy in Nigeria warned US citizens to avoid certain hotels in Abuja because they may be targeted by Boko Haram.

But the group is not known to have carried any attacks on Nigeria's oil industry in the south, although local militants have disrupted production and kidnapped oil workers for ransom.

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Bello Haliru Mohammed said Nigeria was strengthening defence ties with neighbouring Niger to stem the flow of weapons from Libya, Nigeria's privately owned Tribune newspaper reports.

"We are very much aware of the movement of arms and explosives that were stolen from Libya," he is quoted as saying.

Mr Mohammed said the European Union (EU) had also offered to assist.

"They have fears also of disruption in our sub-region, if these weapons are allowed to proliferate without challenge. And Mali, Central African Republic, Mauritania [and] Niger are all coming together to set a joint operation to fight movement of these weapons," he is quoted as saying.
 

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Nigeria's ex-Boko Haram spokesman Konduga jailed
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16052074
The convicted man's father says he is mentally ill
Continue reading the main story
Related Stories

Who are Boko Haram?
Foreign backers for Boko Haram ?
Nigeria country profile
A Nigerian court has sentenced a former spokesman of the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram to three years in prison.

Ali Sanda Umar Konduga was arrested last month with Nigerian senator Ali Ndume, who is accused of backing Boko Haram.

The group has staged several attacks in Nigeria, including on the UN base and police headquarters in Abuja.

Last week, a US Congressional report said Boko Haram was an "emerging threat" to the US and its interests.

Nigeria's security services said Konduga spoke on behalf of Boko Haram, using the name Usman al-Zawahiri.

Konduga said he had not been its spokesman for months as he had been expelled from the group on suspicion of being a government spy.

At the weekend, his father, Sanda Konduga, said his son was mentally ill.

Senator's trial
"Ali Sanda Konduga, since his childhood, has faced mental challenges. It is unfortunate that we now find ourselves in this situation," he said, Nigeria's privately owned The Nation newspaper reports.

He also publicly apologised to Mr Ndume, following claims by the security services that his son had identified him as a sponsor of Boko Haram.

Mr Ndume denies the allegation.

Continue reading the main story
Boko Haram: Timeline of terror

2002: Founded
2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed
2009: Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf killed
Dec 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80
2010-2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
May 2011: Bombed several states after president's inauguration
Aug 2011: UN HQ bombed in Abuja
Nov 2011: Dozens killed in north-eastern town of Damaturu
The prosecution has withdrawn charges against Mr Ndume in the magistrates court in Abuja, saying the case would be transferred to the High Court as it was a terrorism trial.

Mr Ndume is a member of a presidential taskforce which explored the possibility of opening talks with the Islamist militants.

He is a senator from Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party from Borno state, where Boko Haram first emerged.

Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden".

Some members of the group say they want Islamic law more widely applied across Nigeria, but correspondents say most factions are focused on local issues.

Boko Haram has carried out many attacks on police and government institutions in Borno state and other parts of Nigeria.

In August, it bombed the UN headquarters in Abuja, killing 24 people.

Last month, it killed more than 100 people in a series of attacks in northern Nigeria.

The US Congressional report, presented at a hearing of the House of Representatives subcommittee on counter-terrorism and intelligence, said in November that Boko Haram had "quickly evolved and poses an emerging threat to US interests and the US homeland".

The report added that Boko Haram "has the intent and may be developing capability to coordinate on a rhetorical and operational level" with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim), which is active in countries such as Algeria, Mali and Niger, and al-Shabab, which is fighting the weak UN-backed government in Somalia.
 

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Boko Haram attacks prompt Nigeria state of emergency
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16373531

President Goodluck Jonathan declares a state of emergency

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Why can't Nigeria defeat Boko Haram?
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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in parts of the country following attacks from the Islamist group Boko Haram.

The measure is in force is areas of the Yobe and Borno states in the north-east, Plateau state in central Nigeria and Niger state in the west.

International borders in the affected areas have been temporarily closed.

In separate clashes, at least 50 people have been killed in the east of the country over a land dispute.

A government spokesman said the violence in the state of Ebonyi was the result of a land dispute between the Ezza and Ezilo peoples.

Regional presence
Mr Jonathan vowed to "crush" Boko Haram, which killed dozens in attacks across the country on Christmas Day.

Announcing the state of emergency in a live televised address, Mr Jonathan said: "The temporary closure of our borders in the affected areas is only an interim measure designed to address the current security challenges."

There is growing concern that Boko Haram has developed a presence across the region.

Continue reading the main story
Analysis

Tomi Oladipo
BBC, Lagos
All four states involved were targeted during the Christmas Day bombings carried out by Boko Haram, which killed at least 40 people.

The armed forces will provide a special unit with "dedicated counter-terrorism responsibilities" to be deployed to these states.

The land borders of the affected local government areas in these states will be closed temporarily to prevent cross-border security threats, although it is not clear how this will be enforced and if people will be able to leave to seek safety in other states.

President Goodluck Jonathan has been under pressure to bring an end to the attacks, and the announcement of the state of emergency indicates his toughest move so far in an attempt to suppress Boko Haram.

The last state of emergency was issued by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 in Ekiti State in south-west Nigeria, following the impeachment of the state governor.

Earlier this week, leaders of neighbouring Chad and Cameroon were reported to have held talks about how they can help prevent the violence spreading to their countries.

Mr Jonathan's announcement means parts of Nigeria's border with Niger, Chad and Cameroon will be sealed until further notice.

The president added that his chief of defence staff had been instructed to take other "appropriate" measures, including setting up a special counter-terrorism force.

The BBC's Tom Oladipo in Lagos says Mr Jonathan has been under increasing pressure to address the violence, and this announcement reveals his toughest stance so far.

Boko Haram is thought to be responsible for a string of major attacks across Nigeria this year.

It bombed the headquarters of the UN in August 2011, leaving at least 21 dead and has targeted police as well. It has also in the past targeted Muslim leaders.

At least 42 people died in the Christmas Day bombings of churches and other targets. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in Maiduguri in Borno State, as well as other cities.

'Cancerous'
Earlier on Saturday, speaking at a church in the capital Abuja where 37 people died, the president said Boko Haram had "started as a harmless group" but had "now grown cancerous".

"Nigeria being the body, they want to kill it," Mr Jonathan added. "But nobody will allow them to do that."


While offering his condolences to victims' relatives at St Theresa's Church in Abuja the president said: "We will crush the terrorists. If there are institutions... which are harbouring terrorists, we will deal with them."

Boko Haram, which originated in Maiduguri, wants to impose strict Sharia law across Nigeria.

Earlier this week, Nigeria's main Christian group warned that the community might have to defend itself if the security forces could not protect it.

Analysts said the move raised the spectre of communal clashes in Africa's most populous nation, which is divided between a largely Muslim north and a mainly Christian and animist south.
 

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Six shot dead in Nigeria church
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/bre ... king3.html
Fri, Jan 06, 2012

Gunmen opened fire on a church service in Nigeria, killing six people and wounding 10, the church's pastor said, the latest in a string of attacks that has raised fears of sectarian conflict in Africa's most populous country.

"The attackers started shooting sporadically. They shot through the window of the church, and many people were killed including my wife," Pastor Johnson Jauro told the Reuters news agency by telephone from his Deeper Life church in Nasarawa, Gombe state in northern Nigeria.

"Many of my members who attended the church service were also injured."

The attack followed a warning from violent Islamist sect Boko Haram published in local newspapers on Tuesday that Christians had three days to leave majority Muslim northern Nigeria or they would be killed.

Analysts said it looked increasingly likely the group - or some factions within it - wanted to trigger reprisals from Christians against Muslims in the nation of 160 million split roughly evenly between the two faiths.

The shadowy militant group also claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks across Nigeria on Christmas Day, including one at a church near the capital Abuja that killed at least 37 people and wounded 57.

Most Christians live in the south and most Muslims in the north, but many communities are mixed.

Gombe state's police commissioner was not immediately available to comment on the violence.

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the northeast and two other regions in Nigeria on Dec. 31st, in a bid to contain a growing insurgency by Boko Haram, whose members say they want to apply Islamic sharia law across Nigeria.

The attacks targeting Christian houses of worship have strained Nigeria's already fractious north-south divide.

Christian associations have accused Jonathan of not doing enough to contain the Islamist threat and have warned the violence could provoke a sectarian civil war.

Two suspected Nigerian Islamist sect members were arrested on Thursday after an attack which killed two people, the military said, as authorities stepped up a crackdown on the increasingly violent group.

"We have arrested two of the Boko Haram members who killed a man and his son in Dala on Wednesday night. They left behind their handsets through which we were able to trace them," said Colonel Victor Ebhemele, operations officer of the joint task force operating in Borno state.

Dala is a ward in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, a remote dusty region which sits on borders with Cameroon, Niger and Chad. These borders have been closed as part of Jonathan's emergency measures.

Ebhemele said there were three bomb blasts in Maiduguri on Wednesday evening but there were no casualties.

Reuters
 

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Nigeria Christians hit by fresh Islamist attacks
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16442960

A attack on a church outside Abuja killed 37 people on Christmas Day

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Nigeria has been hit by a fresh wave of violence apparently targeting the country's Christian communities.

At least 17 people were killed in Mubi in Adamawa state as gunmen opened fire in a town hall where members of the Christian Igbo group were meeting.

There were also reports of a deadly attack in Adamawa's capital, Yola.

The Islamist Boko Haram group said it had carried out the attack in Mubi and another in Gombe on Thursday night in which at least six people died.

The group has staged numerous attacks in northern and central areas in recent months - on Christmas Day it attacked a church near the capital, Abuja, killing dozens of people.

One Boko Haram faction has warned all southerners - who are mostly Christian and animist - to leave the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria.

Adamawa state borders Borno state, where Boko Haram emerged.

Last week President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Yobe and Borno states, as well as Plateau state in central Nigeria and Niger state in the west, following a surge in ethnic and sectarian violence.

But the pace of attacks has increased and he must now consider whether to extend the state of emergency into other states and beef up the military presence in the north in response, says the BBC's Mark Lobel in Lagos.

Meanwhile, the government is also facing the bleak prospect of a general strike in two days' time amid popular fury over its removal of a fuel subsidy which has seen fuel prices double for ordinary Nigerians.

'Planning to flee'
Continue reading the main story
Boko Haram: Timeline of terror

2002: Founded
2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed
2009: Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf captured by army, handed to police, later found dead
Sep 2010: Freed hundreds of prisoners from Maiduguri jail
Dec 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80 people and blamed for New Year's Eve attack on Abuja barracks
2010-2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
May 2011: Bombed several states after president's inauguration
Jun 2011: Police HQ bombed in Abuja
Aug 2011: UN HQ bombed in Abuja
Nov 2011: Co-ordinated bomb and gun attacks in Yobe and Borno states
Dec 2011: Multiple bomb attacks on Christmas Day kill dozens
Who are Boko Haram?
Residents told the BBC that those killed in Mubi belonged to the Igbo community from the south of the country.

They had been meeting to organise how to transport the body of an Igbo man who was shot dead by gunmen on motorbikes on Thursday evening.

"It was while they were holding the meeting that gunmen came and opened fire on them," a resident said.

Witnesses said gunmen burst into the hall and shouted "God is great" as they opened fire.

Members of the Igbo community in northern Nigeria often own shops and businesses, but the BBC's Abdullahi Tasiu in Yola says many Igbo traders in Mubi town are reported to have closed their shops and be planning to flee the area.

'Extending out frontiers'
Later, a man claiming to be a spokesman for Boko Haram told local media the group had carried out both the Mubi and Gombe attacks.

"We are extending our frontiers to other places to show that the declaration of a state of emergency by the Nigerian government will not deter us. We can really go to wherever we want to go," said Abul Qaqa.


He said the attacks were "part of our response to the ultimatum we gave to southerners to leave the north" and called on the government to release all Boko Haram prisoners.

Later on Friday, there were reports that eight people had been killed in another attack on a church in Yola.

"Some gunmen went into the church and opened fire on worshippers killing some people and wounding several others," a local journalist told the AFP news agency.

A source at the local hospital told AFP that between eight and 10 bodies had been taken there.

Police have also been engaged in a gun battle with suspected members of Boko Haram in another north-eastern city, Potiskum, in Yobe state.

"Gunmen who are, from all indications, members of Boko Haram came in large numbers and have encircled police headquarters. They chanted 'Allahu Akbar' [God is Great] and fired indiscriminately," a resident told AFP.

Boko Haram, whose name means 'Western education is forbidden', is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state

More than 500 people have been killed by the group over the past year. On Christmas Day, it carried out a string of church bombings which killed 37 people at one church outside the capital, Abuja, alone.

President Jonathan, who is a Christian, has vowed to crack down on the group but Christian groups have accused him of not doing enough to protect them.

Nigeria: A nation divided
2011 electionEthnicWealthHealthLiteracyOil

To win at the first round, a candidate not only needs the majority of votes cast, but at least 25% of the vote in two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states. Goodluck Jonathan, of the PDP, reached that threshold in 31 states; runner-up Muhammadu Buhari of the CPC only did so in 16 states.
 

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Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan: Officials back Boko Haram
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16462891

The persistent violence adds to growing problems for the authorities to deal with

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Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamists?
Why can't Nigeria defeat Boko Haram?
Foreign backers for Boko Haram ?

Nigeria's president has said for the first time he thinks sympathisers of the Islamist Boko Haram group are in his government and security agencies.

Goodluck Jonathan's comments come amid a wave of violence blamed on Boko Haram which has left dozens of people dead in the north, most of them Christians.

Mr Jonathan also said the security situation was now more complex than during the civil war four decades ago.

More than one million people died in the 1967-1970 Biafran conflict.

More than 80 people have been killed in recent weeks in attacks apparently carried out by Boko Haram, adding to the more than 500 killed in the past year.

A 24-hour wave of violence apparently targeting Christian communities at the end of last week led to thousands of people, mostly southerners, fleeing parts of north-eastern Nigeria. There are also reports of northerners leaving their homes in southern areas, fearing reprisal attacks.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

One of its factions has warned southerners, who are mostly Christian and animist, to leave the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

During the civil war, we knew and we could even predict where the enemy was coming from. But the challenge we have today is more complicated”

Nigerian President
Goodluck Jonathan
A senior Christian cleric has warned that the country is sliding towards civil war.

Curfew
Mr Jonathan, a Christian, was attending a Remembrance Day church service in the capital, Abuja, when he spoke about Nigeria's worsening security situation.

Of the Boko Haram sympathisers, he said "some of them are in the executive arm of government, some of them are in the parliamentary/legislative arm of government, while some of them are even in the judiciary".

"Some are also in the armed forces, the police and other security agencies."

The situation was, he said, "even worse than the civil war that we fought".

"During the civil war, we knew and we could even predict where the enemy was coming from... But the challenge we have today is more complicated," Mr Jonathan said.

Continue reading the main story
Boko Haram: Timeline of terror

2002: Founded
2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed
2009: Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf captured by army, handed to police, later found dead
Sep 2010: Freed hundreds of prisoners from Maiduguri jail
Dec 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80 people and blamed for New Year's Eve attack on Abuja barracks
2010-2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
May 2011: Bombed several states after president's inauguration
Jun 2011: Police HQ bombed in Abuja
Aug 2011: UN HQ bombed in Abuja
Nov 2011: Co-ordinated bomb and gun attacks in Yobe and Borno states
Dec 2011: Multiple bomb attacks on Christmas Day kill dozens
Who are Boko Haram?
"Somebody said that the situation is [so] bad that even if one's son is a member, one will not even know. That means that if the person will plant a bomb behind your house, you won't know."

Boko Haram has staged numerous attacks in northern and central areas in recent months - on Christmas Day it attacked a church near Abuja, killing dozens of people.

Last week the president declared a state of emergency in Yobe and Borno states, as well as Plateau state in central Nigeria and Niger state in the west, following a surge in ethnic and sectarian violence.

Adamawa state, where attacks on Friday left about 30 dead, was placed under curfew and security forces were deployed.

Christian groups have accused the government of not doing enough to protect them.

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said on Saturday that his members would protect themselves against the attacks.

"We have the legitimate right to defend ourselves. We're also saying today that we will do whatever it takes" he said.

The pattern of the killings suggested "systematic ethnic and religious cleansing", he added.

Meanwhile, the government also faces the bleak prospect of a general strike on Monday amid popular fury over its removal of a fuel subsidy which has seen fuel prices double for ordinary Nigerians.
 

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Boko Haram: Nigerian Islamist leader defends attacks
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16510929

Abubakar Shekau said Boko Haram would not be defeated by the security forces
Continue reading the main story
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Why can't Nigeria defeat Boko Haram?
Who are Boko Haram?
Foreign backers for Boko Haram ?
The leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamist militants has defended recent attacks on Christians, saying they are revenge for killings of Muslims.

In his first video message, posted on YouTube, Abubakar Shekau referred to attacks on Muslims in recent years in several parts of northern Nigeria.

Boko Haram militants attacked several churches on Christmas Day, killing dozens of worshippers.

This has led to some reprisals in the mainly Christian south.

Mosques in two states have been attacked.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with 160 million people, is divided between a largely Muslim north and a south where most people are Christians and some animists.

Thousands of people have fled their homes following the recent attacks, leading some people, including Nigeria's president and the leader of the country's main Christian organisation, to make comparisons with the 1967-70 civil war when the south-east tried to secede.

'Religious cleansing'
In the 15-minute video, Mr Shekau, wearing a red and white turban, a bullet-proof vest and sitting in front of two Kalashnikov rifles, said he was responding to recent statements from Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan and the leader of the country's main Christian organisation, the Christian Association of Nigeria.


He warned President Jonathan that Nigeria's security forces would not be able to defeat the group.

Mr Jonathan, a Christian, has declared a state of emergency in some northern states but the attacks have continued.

On Tuesday night, gunmen opened fire on a bar in the northern state of Yobe, killing eight people, including several police officers.

The president recently said that he suspected some officials, politicians and members of the security forces sympathised with Boko Haram.

Continue reading the main story
Boko Haram: Timeline of terror

2002: Founded
2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed
2009: Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf captured by army, handed to police, later found dead
Sep 2010: Freed hundreds of prisoners from Maiduguri jail
Dec 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80 people and blamed for New Year's Eve attack on Abuja barracks
2010-2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
May 2011: Bombed several states after president's inauguration
June 2011: Police HQ bombed in Abuja
Aug 2011: UN HQ bombed in Abuja
Nov 2011: Co-ordinated bomb and gun attacks in Yobe and Borno states
Dec 2011: Multiple bomb attacks on Christmas Day kill dozens
Defending the latest spate of violence, Mr Shekau referred to the killing of Muslims in places like Jos, Kaduna, Zangon Kataf, Tafawa Balewa in recent years.

Some of these places have seen bitter communal clashes but correspondents say they are often based on long-standing disputes over resources such as land, or are whipped up by politicians, rather than being based on religious differences.

"We are also at war with Christians because the whole world knows what they did to us," Mr Shekau said in the video, speaking in Hausa - the most common language in northern Nigeria.

"They killed our fellows and even ate their flesh in Jos," he said, referring to reports last year of isolated cases of Christian youths burning and eating their rivals in Plateau state, where more than 1,000 people have been killed in a series of clashes over the past two years.

Christian Association of Nigeria head Ayo Oritsejafor said on Saturday that his members would protect themselves against the attacks, which he said suggested "systematic ethnic and religious cleansing".

On Tuesday, he told the BBC World Service there should be dialogue with Muslim leaders to halt the violence.

Mr Shekau said the group could only hold talks with the government in accordance with the teachings of Islam.

He said the group's primary targets remained the security forces, who he said had summarily executed their former leader Mohammed Yusuf after he was arrested in 2009.

"Everyone has seen how we were treated, people have seen what has happened between us and armed security agents and their accomplices who give them information about us," Mr Shekau said.

After a lull, in 2010 the group started to stage drive-by shootings on government targets in its base in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri.

Last year, it carried out suicide bombings on high-profile targets such as the headquarters of the UN and the police in the capital, Abuja.

The group, known locally as Boko Haram meaning "Western education is forbidden", wants to establish Sharia law in Nigeria.

Nigeria: A nation divided
WealthEthnicHealthLiteracyOil

Despite its vast resources, Nigeria ranks among the most unequal countries in the world, according to the UN. The poverty in the north is in stark contrast to the more developed southern states. While in the oil-rich south-east, the residents of Delta and Akwa Ibom complain that all the wealth they generate flows up the pipeline to Abuja and Lagos.
 

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Nigeria Boko Haram bomb suspect escapes from police
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16607176

The Christmas Day attack was one of several directed at Nigeria's Christians
Continue reading the main story
Boko Haram militants

On the brink?
Who are Boko Haram?
Can Boko Haram be stopped?
Maiduguri: Nigeria's city of fear

A key suspect in the Christmas Day bombing which killed more than 40 people in Nigeria has escaped from custody, police have admitted.

Kabiru Sokoto - believed to be a member of the Islamist sect Boko Haram - was arrested on Saturday in the capital Abuja after police trailed him.

But the very next day, he escaped as police attempted to search his house outside the capital.

A police commissioner has been arrested, police said in a statement.

It is a huge embarrassment for a nation struggling to contain an increasingly bloody campaign of violence blamed on Boko Haram, observers say.

Meanwhile, the security forces say they arrested six Boko Haram members on Tuesday in the north-eastern town of Maiduguri, where the group is mainly based.

Officials said the arrests came amid a raid in which two soldiers were killed.

'Pandemonium'
Continue reading the main story
Analysis


Mark Lobel
BBC News, Lagos
This is the first time the police are in the firing line since President Goodluck Jonathan said militant Islamists Boko Haram may have infiltrated the force. The question everyone is asking is how could such an important suspect have got away so easily?

Police chiefs have accused their own commissioner of "serious negligence" and are treating this as a criminal case. A top state official from a Boko Haram stronghold, when asked if there was collusion between the militant sect and police, said "it would not be surprising".

It beggars belief that a see-through truck with only a handful of officers would take a prime suspect on a tour of their home town just hours after their capture. Yet that is exactly what happened.

When an unarmed group of young men spotted who it was, eyewitnesses say the policemen did not even use their guns to scare the mob off, as their man was hurried away. Fatally, reports suggest an innocent person was killed when they finally took up the chase.

Authorities say Mr Sokoto planned the 25 December bombing of St Theresa Roman Catholic church in Madalla, just outside Abuja.

He was arrested on Saturday in Abuja at a lodge owned by the governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima.

A spokesman for the governor has said there is no question of collaboration between the governor and Boko Haram.

"What we've heard is that this man is in that lodge perhaps to even harm the governor. One cannot be in governance and be collaborating with people who threaten the peace of your own region," Inuwa Bwala, Borno's commissioner of information, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"Our governor is completely insulated from any blame or from any type of relationship with these people."

The next day, the suspect was taken to his home just outside the capital, which police intended to search.

But youths surrounded the police cars and pandemonium broke out during which the suspect managed to escape, the BBC's Mark Lobel in Nigeria reports.

In a statement, police said Boko Haram members had attacked police escorting Mr Sokoto.

"The police view this development as a serious negligence on the part of the commissioner of police and have since queried and suspended him from duty," it added.

The commissioner was not identified.

This is either huge incompetence or worse on the part of the police, our correspondent says.

Mr Sokoto was the only major suspect to be arrested of late for involvement in the bloody attacks blamed on Boko Haram, which has stepped up its attacks over the last year.

The group started to stage drive-by shootings in 2010 on government targets in its base in Maiduguri, where some arrests were made on Tuesday.

Continue reading the main story
Boko Haram: Timeline of terror

2002: Founded
2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed
2009: Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf captured by army, handed to police, later found dead
Sep 2010: Freed hundreds of prisoners from Maiduguri jail
Dec 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80 people and blamed for New Year's Eve attack on Abuja barracks
2010-2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
May 2011: Bombed several states after president's inauguration
June 2011: Police HQ bombed in Abuja
Aug 2011: UN HQ bombed in Abuja
Nov 2011: Co-ordinated bomb and gun attacks in Yobe and Borno states
Dec 2011: Multiple bomb attacks on Christmas Day kill dozens
On the brink after north-south clashes?
"We have succeeded in arresting six high-profile members of Boko Haram in a raid on their hideout following useful information provided us by some residents," a commander of the security forces in the city, Victor Ebhaleme, told the AFP news agency.

Last year, Boko Haram carried out suicide bombings on high-profile targets such as the headquarters of the UN and the police in Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan has voiced concerns that members of Boko Haram have infiltrated government offices and security agencies.

Suspicion is now hovering that there may have been some kind of collusion between the police and Boko Haram, our correspondent says.

Reports suggest the group has been blamed for at least 74 killings this year alone.

The group, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", wants to establish Sharia (Islamic law) in Nigeria.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with 160 million people, is divided between a largely Muslim north and a south where most people are Christians and some animists.

In a video recently posted on YouTube, Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau defended recent attacks on Christians, saying they were revenge for killings of Muslims in several parts of northern Nigeria.

He said the group's primary targets remained the security forces, who he said had summarily executed their former leader Mohammed Yusuf after he was arrested in 2009.

Nigeria: A nation divided
WealthEthnicHealthLiteracyOil

Despite its vast resources, Nigeria ranks among the most unequal countries in the world, according to the UN. The poverty in the north is in stark contrast to the more developed southern states. While in the oil-rich south-east, the residents of Delta and Akwa Ibom complain that all the wealth they generate flows up the pipeline to Abuja and Lagos.
 
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