KANO, Nigeria — Nigeria’s self-styled Taliban militant Islamist sect, whose short-lived uprising was brutally put down by the security forces last year, has threatened to widen its activities beyond the borders.
“Islam doesn’t recognise international boundaries, we will carry out our operations anywhere in the world if we can have the chance,” said Musa Tanko, spokesman of the Boko Haram sect, in a rare interview given to AFP on Sunday.
“The United States is the number one target for its oppression and aggression against Muslim nations particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan and its blind support to Israel in its killings of our Palestinian brethren,” Tanko said, adjusting his starched bottle green kaftan.
Thousands of Boko Haram Islamic sect militia launched an armed insurrection in July 2009 from their enclave in the northern city of Maiduguri and several other cities in the region in a doomed bid to establish an Islamic state.
“We will launch fiercer attacks than Iraqi or Afghan Mujahedeen (Islamic fighters) against our enemies throughout the world, particularly the US, if the chance avails itself within the confines of what Islam prescribes but for now our attention is focused on Nigeria which is our starting point,” Tanko said, as he placed a black file folder on his lap.
Slim, dark, chin-bearded and soft-spoken, Tanko, 30, betrayed no emotion as he spoke under a defoliated tree, intermittently wiping sweat off his glistening forehead with a white handkerchief, while his four colleagues nodded in approval between pauses.
The group draws its inspiration from the Afghan Taliban and sees Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Umar and the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, as its champions, Tanko said.
“We see Mullah Umar and Osama bin Laden as the true champions of Islam who are fighting Allah’ s enemies and our allegiance and support go to them although we don’ t have any contact with them yet,” Tanko said….