An update on this evolving story. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb grew out of the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat. Here again, one finds “regional” jihadist conflicts finding common cause with one another and cooperating. All share the aim of imposing Sharia law, the purpose of jihad in all its forms.
The conflict is local, but the agenda is global. “Al Qaeda-linked group finds fertile territory in Nigeria as killings escalate,” by Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister for CNN, November 18:
(CNN) — Two weeks ago, dozens of armed men descended on a town in northern Nigeria and killed more than 100 people in a coordinated series of bombings and gun attacks.
Many of those targeted were Christians, but police stations and mosques deemed “insufficiently Islamic” were also attacked.
The town was Damataru, capital of the Nigerian state of Yobe, and the assailants belonged to the group Boko Haram, which translates from the local Hausa as “Western education is outlawed.”
In two years, Boko Haram has morphed from a radical Muslim sect into an insurgency responsible for dozens of attacks in Nigeria and beyond. Western intelligence analysts believe it is also developing links with al Qaeda affiliates in Africa.
Boko Haram’s targets include police outposts and churches, as well as places associated with ‘western influence.’ Its signature attack is a Karachi-style drive-by shooting from a motorbike, but this year it has begun a campaign of suicide vehicle attacks. […]
Think jihad globally, wage jihad locally:
According to U.S. officials, the groups have since forged a partnership — with AQIM sharing its evolving expertise in suicide bombing.
“We know that there are increasingly frequent contacts, and indeed, training of members of Boko Haram by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and that’s of great concern,” Ambassador Anthony Holmes, U.S. Africa Command’s civilian deputy said earlier this month. Algerian officials, long concerned at the growth of AQIM, have voiced the same concerns. And last week a senior Nigerian military officer told Reuters: “Boko Haram is al Qaeda.”
In a global poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2009, a higher percentage of Nigerian Muslims (54%) stated they had confidence in Osama bin Laden than in any other Muslim-majority country. […]
How about now?