They said it. But surely, there must be some “underlying causes” to chase after instead of considering that they fight for the reason they say they do: jihad to impose Sharia law. “Nigeria: Radical Muslim sect grows more dangerous,” by John Gambrell for the Associated Press November 4:
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) – The imam’s insistent, lecturing voice comes right to the point over the scratchy audio recording: Holy war is the only way to bring change for Muslims in Nigeria.
Abubakar Shekau urges followers of his feared Boko Haram sect to carry out more assassinations and bombings. The group’s violent campaign already has left more than 240 people dead this year. On Friday, a suicide bomber hit a military base while explosives detonated around Maiduguri“”attacks that bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram.
“Whomever we kill, we kill because Allah says we should kill and we kill for a reason,” Shekau says in a recording of a sermon obtained by The Associated Press.
Boko Haram, which in August bombed the United Nations headquarters in Nigeria, is the gravest security threat to Africa’s most populous nation and is gaining prominence despite efforts by the military and police to stamp it out. A security agency crackdown, which human rights activists say has left innocent civilians dead, could be winning the insurgency even more supporters.
Complicating efforts to negotiate peace, the group apparently has split into three factions, the AP has learned. One remains moderate and welcomes an end to the violence, another wants a peace agreement with rewards similar to those offered to a different militant group in 2009. The third faction refuses to negotiate and wants to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria, an oil-rich nation of more than 160 million which has a predominantly Christian south and a Muslim north.
The split in Boko Haram appears to be so serious that one representative of its moderate faction was killed after negotiating with former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo in September.
Nigerian officials and diplomats fear the sect will launch bolder assaults on foreign interests and the country’s weak central government.
Security agencies thought they had destroyed the group following a July 2009 riot and military crackdown that left 700 people dead and leader Mohammed Yusuf killed in police custody in Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s spiritual home.
But the group re-emerged about a year ago, beginning a campaign of assassinations by motorcycle-riding gunmen carrying Kalashnikov rifles hidden under their traditional robes. Today, motorcycles are banned from the streets, but attacks continue in and around the city of about 3 million. An AP count of casualties this year alone shows Boko Haram killed at least 247 people….