During the past year, the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has expanded from its traditional area of operations in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State and is now capable of conducting attacks across a 900-mile breadth of northern Nigeria, including in the strategic state of Sokoto.[1] Due to Sokoto’s geographic location and religious significance—Sokoto is home to Nigeria’s highest Islamic authority, the sultan of Sokoto[2]—it is the focal point in Boko Haram’s strategy to purge northern Nigeria of its traditional Islamic leadership. Boko Haram’s primary goal is to establish Shari`a law in Nigeria by force and to “dismantle” the Nigerian government and its secular institutions.[3]

Sokoto is also only 300 miles from “Azawad,” the separatist region of northern Mali that is now under the control of al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Eddine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).[4] This makes it a natural entry point for AQIM militants to infiltrate Nigerian territory by way of Niger.

In 2012, the North-West zone[5] suffered a coordinated series of Boko Haram attacks, including the first ever attacks in Sokoto on July 30. The region also witnessed AQIM-style kidnapping operations.

This article analyzes Boko Haram’s attacks in Sokoto and its broader offensive in the North-West zone, how the group’s strategy toward the sultan and traditional Muslim rulers has bred dissent within its ranks, and whether AQIM has infiltrated the North-West zone through alliances with breakaway Boko Haram factions.

North-West Zone Offensive Reaches Sokoto
On July 30, 2012, Sokoto became the third state in Nigeria’s North-West zone to suffer from major Boko Haram attacks since January 2012. The attacks, the first carried out by Boko Haram in Sokoto, were not without warning. On January 20, 2012, approximately 100 Boko Haram fighters launched an offensive on government buildings and police stations in the North-West zone’s most populous state, Kano, killing an estimated 186 people, more than 150 of whom were civilians.[6] Afterwards, Boko Haram’s spokesman said in a phone statement that “this is an open message to the amir of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III…What happened in Kano will be inevitable in Sokoto unless you intervene and ensure the immediate and unconditional release of our members who were specifically arrested in the city of Sokoto.”[7]

Several months later, Boko Haram launched major attacks in the second most populous state in the North-West zone, Kaduna, which is in the Middle Belt region where the Muslim northern and Christian southern regions of Nigeria meet.[8] On Easter, April 8, at least one suicide bomber in a vehicle detonated explosives near a church in Kaduna, killing 41 people.[9] On June 17, Boko Haram members detonated explosives near three other churches in Kaduna, including one vehicle suicide bombing, killing 19 worshippers during Sunday services.[10]

On July 30, Boko Haram fulfilled its January threat and attacked Sokoto. Two suicide bombers in vehicles detonated their explosives at the office of the assistant inspector general of police at the zonal police headquarters and the Unguwar Rogo divisional police headquarters simultaneously. Later that day, while most residents in Sokoto prepared to break the Ramadan fast, Boko Haram fighters on motorcycles fired shots at the Arkila police station.[11] On the same day in Kaduna, suspected Boko Haram members on motorcycles fired gunshots at the home of Nigeria’s vice president, Namadi Sambo, in Zaria, Kaduna, killing one civilian.[12]

Claiming the attacks in Sokoto, Boko Haram’s spokesman said on August 1, “We wish to extend our profound gratitude to Almighty Allah for giving us the opportunity to fulfill the promise we made [after the January 20 Kano attacks] on launching spontaneous attacks in Sokoto…We attacked Sokoto because many of our brethren have been incarcerated there.”[13] The assault on Sokoto continued on August 6, when suspected Boko Haram members on motorcycles threw grenades at the Shagari police station, which is located next door to the residence of Nigeria’s former president, Shehu Shagari.[14]

The attacks in the North-West zone show that Boko Haram now operates throughout the 900-mile breadth of northern Nigeria, from Boko Haram’s original base in Borno State in the far northeast to Sokoto State in the far northwest.[15] Moreover, the dispersal of Boko Haram fighters from the northeast is likely to gain pace as a result of the security forces crackdown in Borno, Yobe, Kano and Adamawa states since September 2012, in which more than 200 fighters have been killed or arrested, including five high-ranking members.[16]

Message to the Sultan
As part of its “grand plans to Islamize Nigeria,” Boko Haram seeks to transfer religious authority from the sultan of Sokoto and other traditional leaders to Boko Haram’s religious leaders through a campaign of intimidation and assassination.[17] At the same time, the sultan has shamed Boko Haram for “violating the sanctity and honor of Muslims,” while calling for “peaceful coexistence” between Christians and Muslims, an “end to the bloodshed,” and for “dialogue and communication” to address Nigerian Muslims’ grievances instead of “wreaking havoc on society.”[18] Two of the closest government officials to the sultan have also attempted to lead negotiations: Sambo Dasuki, Nigeria’s national security adviser and a cousin of the sultan, who in July 2012 contacted amirs, Islamic scholars and moderate Salafists to help broker a cease-fire, and Namadi Sambo, who was the top government representative in secret negotiations held in Saudi Arabia in August 2012.[19]

Yet Boko Haram’s primary leader, Abubakar Shekau, has not participated in Dasuki’s or Sambo’s negotiation attempts. The attack on Sambo’s home on the same day of the Sokoto attacks was likely retaliation for Sambo’s role in negotiations with a faction that Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa claimed was “fake,” an allegation which was corroborated by a security source in Nigeria who said the government was “spending millions” of public funds on “so-called mediators” who are taking advantage of the government’s desperation, but unable to influence Boko Haram to stop attacks.[20] The only peace talks that Shekau’s faction has publicly participated in were mediated by Shaykh Ibrahim Datti Ahmed in March 2012. Shaykh Datti Ahmed earned Boko Haram’s trust because he is the president of the Supreme Council for Shari`a on which the late Boko Haram founder Muhammad Yusuf served as Borno State’s representative.[21] In addition, unlike the sultan, who Shekau accuses of “supporting the federal government policies against Islam” and claims is “not the leader of the Muslims,” the shaykh shares some of Boko Haram’s religious beliefs.[22] Shaykh Datti Ahmed ultimately withdrew from the negotiations because of his “strong doubts…about the sincerity of the government’s side” after the shaykh alleged that an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Ambassador Hassan Tukur, sabotaged the negotiations by leaking its details to the media.[23]

On September 30, 2012, Shekau said in a video statement addressed to the “traditional rulers who have been conspiring against [Boko Haram]” that “there is nobody that we are dialoguing with.”[24] His main condition for negotiations—which he proposed in September 2011 after Boko Haram’s attack on the UN headquarters in Abuja and again after the January 2012 Kano attacks and the July 2012 Sokoto attacks—is the release of Boko Haram members from prison; however, an “amnesty” is supported by only 3.8% of Nigerians, according to Nigeria’s leading polling organization, and has been rejected by academics in the country.[25] The Sokoto attacks were likely intended as a way for Boko Haram to communicate Shekau’s demands to the sultan in the absence of direct talks.

Boko Haram’s Breakaway Factions
Disagreements among Boko Haram members over assassinations of Muslim leaders, mass casualty attacks that kill Muslim civilians, and negotiations have contributed to the emergence of splinter groups.[26] Under interrogation, captured spokesman Abu Qaqa revealed that some Boko Haram members are tired of fighting, but are afraid to leave the group for fear of reprisals. For example, Abu Qaqa’s replacement, known in Nigerian media as “Abu Qaqa II,” was reportedly killed on Shekau’s orders after trying to denounce Boko Haram following the attacks in Kaduna on Easter 2012.[27] The attacks killed mostly Muslim motorcycle taxi riders, women, and children outside of the church. Abu Qaqa also said that Boko Haram members who refused to go on suicide missions would face the “death penalty” and that the tendency to select non-Kanuris for such missions alienated members from other ethnic groups.[28]

Some groups in northern Nigeria have broken from Boko Haram because of their opposition to Shekau’s faction, including the Yusuffiya Islamic Movement (YIM) and Jama`at Ansar al-Muslimin fi Bilad al-Sudan (“Ansar”).[29] Neither group has claimed specific attacks, and their statements show that they support the insurgency in northern Nigeria; however, they both disapprove of Boko Haram’s targeting strategy. In June 2011, the YIM, which is composed of former close followers of Muhammad Yusuf, distributed leaflets in Maiduguri to “distance our group from all the bombings targeted at civilians and other establishments and equally condemn them”; call on “this evil group [Boko Haram] to desist, failing which we shall have no option than to expose and hunt them”; and announce that it would “temporarily halt our fight against the assassination of our leaders in compliance with the prohibition of fighting in the holy month of Ramadan.”[30]

Like YIM, Ansar first introduced itself by distributing flyers in Kano days after the attacks on January 20, 2012.[31] Less than one week later, on February 3, Boko Haram killed six members of an unnamed rival faction in Maiduguri who were reportedly collaborating with the security forces against Boko Haram.[32] Ansar also issued a video statement in June 2012 in which it called Boko Haram’s killing of Muslims, including two clerics who were affiliated with Ansar, “inexcusable” and accused Boko Haram of killing members who sought to defect to Ansar.[33] It then said in July 2012 in an Arabic language posting on an online jihadist forum that one of its goals was to “protect the lives and properties of Muslims” because no other “Islamic armed forces took any military actions” against the “infidel armed groups.”[34]

In response to these disagreements, Shekau’s faction has tried to show that Boko Haram does not kill “innocent” Muslims. On July 25, 2011, for example, Shekau explained in a video statement, “if you hear that we have killed a Muslim, we must have found out that he was collaborating with the unbelievers…But the ordinary people in town, we seek your forgiveness; I swear we will not harm you.”[35] Boko Haram leaders have issued similar statements and alleged that the government is responsible for creating the impression of division.[36]

Concerns Over AQIM
AQIM is prevalent in territories just outside Nigeria, but until recently it has not conducted any known operations inside the country. Yet AQIM’s proximity to northwestern Nigeria and the increased security measures multinational corporations are implementing in Niger to avoid kidnappings make Nigeria a suitable target for a new string of AQIM operations. There have been reports of Nigerians traveling north through Niger to northern Mali to join AQIM or MUJAO, as well as reports of Boko Haram members receiving militant training in Niger and setting up bases in southern Niger’s largest city, Zinder, which is 150 miles north of Kano.[37] There are no reports of AQIM operatives traveling to Nigeria or of developments in northern Mali directly influencing the insurgency in northern Nigeria. A Nigerian intelligence report from May 2012, however, documented that nine Boko Haram members received training in hostage-taking from AQIM and that Boko Haram received the first installment of $250,000 from AQIM to kidnap “white” expatriates in Nigeria to ransom them or exchange them with AQIM for more money, weapons and ammunition.[38]

There have also been two recent kidnapping incidents in northwestern Nigeria that may have had connections to AQIM. The first incident occurred in May 2011, when a group of armed men kidnapped a British construction worker and an Italian colleague in the North-West zone’s Kebbi State, which borders Sokoto.[39] Three months later, Agence France-Presse in Abidjan received a video of the Italian and British hostages blindfolded and on their knees claiming that their captors were al-Qa`ida while three armed men wearing Tuareg-style turbans stood behind them.[40] In December, a Mauritanian news agency received a separate video, this time from a group calling itself “al-Qa`ida in the Lands Beyond the Sahel,” with the British hostage asking the United Kingdom to “answer the demands.”[41] The group initially demanded the release of imprisoned senior Boko Haram leaders—consistent with typical Shekau faction demands—in exchange for freeing the two hostages. It also reportedly demanded a $6.4 million ransom.[42] The kidnapping cell’s mastermind, Abu Muhammad, was reportedly a member of Boko Haram and connected to AQIM, and he divulged the location of the hostages after he was captured while holding a shura meeting with four other Boko Haram leaders in Kaduna on March 7, 2012.[43] Approximately $1.6 million was reportedly paid to the kidnappers, and a Mauritanian politician who twice previously secured the release of hostages from AQIM mediated negotiations.[44] On March 8, 2012, however, the British government authorized a raid to save the two men—who by then had been transferred to Sokoto—but the captors killed both hostages during the rescue operation.[45]

Despite this kidnapping incident’s connections to Boko Haram, the Nigerian group has never carried out or claimed a kidnapping or demanded money in negotiations. In addition to receiving funds from politically and religiously motivated sponsors, Boko Haram finances itself through bank robberies.[46] The kidnapping group’s operation is consistent with AQIM, which is notorious in the Sahel region for extorting large ransoms from Western governments in exchange for hostages. Moreover, in a phone statement from Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa to journalists after the two hostages were killed, he said, “We have never been involved in hostage-taking and it is not part of our style, and we never ask for ransom…Therefore, the allegation that the kidnappers were members of our group is ridiculous.” The British government suspected that al-Qa`ida in the Lands Beyond the Sahel was a “splinter group” whose members have left Boko Haram, while Nigerian security forces suspected the kidnappers were directly linked to AQIM in Chad and Niger.[47]

The second kidnapping occurred in early 2012. On January 26, a group kidnapped a German engineer who was inspecting a bridge destroyed in Kano. In March, AQIM released a video through its official media wing, al-Andalus, to a Mauritanian news agency showing the German hostage and offering to exchange him for Filiz Gelowicz (Umm Sayf Allah al-Ansari), who was in a German prison. The statement also warned the German government not to forget the “recent lesson taught to Britain by the mujahidin,” referring to the failed rescue attempt of the Italian and British hostages earlier that month in Sokoto.[48] Filiz Gelowicz is a former Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) website administrator and wife of Fritz Gelowicz, a German convert to Islam who was one of three members of the IJU arrested in the 2007 Sauerland plot aimed at detonating car bombs at Ramstein Air Force base and Frankfurt Airport.[49] Although Filiz Gelowicz was released several months ahead of schedule in April 2012, the kidnappers did not release the German engineer, who, like the Italian and British hostages in Sokoto, was killed by his captors during a raid to save him in June 2012. In a second statement issued by AQIM through al-Andalus after the killing, AQIM blamed Germany for the death of the hostage. Neither statement referenced any typical Boko Haram demands, such as the release of Boko Haram prisoners.[50]

The composition of the five-person cell that carried out the kidnapping of the German engineer in Kano in 2012 was similar to AQIM, whose members tend to come from the Maghreb region, in that the cell’s leader was a Mauritanian, whose shop in Kano was used as a base for the kidnappers.[51] When authorities raided the Mauritanian man’s shop, they reportedly found an AQIM operations manual as well as other documents linking him to AQIM.[52] In addition, the absence of any references to Nigeria in the two AQIM videos, the release of the first video to a Mauritanian news agency, and the call for the release of an international jihadist like Filiz Gelowicz are signs that the operation was foreign-led and not inspired by the domestic causes for which Boko Haram and breakaway factions like YIM and Ansar fight. If AQIM did lead the operation, it appears that AQIM is not coordinating with Shekau’s faction, but other Nigerian militants who have splintered from Shekau.

While not conclusive, these two incidents suggest that AQIM could be beginning to operate in northern Nigeria.

The expansion of Boko Haram throughout northern Nigeria has led to a proliferation of militant cells in the region, while the ruthless killings by Abubakar Shekau’s faction have alienated some of these cells. As a result, there are now several breakaway factions in addition to Boko Haram operating in northern Nigeria. Although Boko Haram and the breakaway factions may differ about issues such as the assassination of Muslim leaders and methods such as kidnapping, none of the factions have renounced violence, concluded a cease-fire agreement with the government, or wavered on the issue of imposing Shari`a law in Nigeria.

The factionalization of the insurgency has also increased the likelihood that AQIM will be able to connect with militant cells in northern Nigeria. Nigeria reportedly shares 480 irregular, unmanned border crossings with Niger and Chad, with only 12 official crossings secured by Nigerian troops.[53] Weak border security as well as corruption—and even membership of immigration officials in Boko Haram—could facilitate the travel of militants between northern Mali and Nigeria.[54] As of now, Shekau’s faction has not announced any affiliation with AQIM, support for AQIM, Ansar Eddine or MUJAO in northern Mali, or executed attacks outside of Nigeria. There is also no definitive evidence that AQIM operatives are active in Nigeria.

As the insurgency spreads further from Boko Haram’s original base in Borno State, its members will also likely become exposed to local militant groups with their own regional agendas, such as the Muslim Fulanis of the Middle Belt region who are in conflict with Christian ethnic groups over land use. As a result, the insurgency is likely to become more diverse and complex over time, which will limit the efficacy of negotiations since neither Shekau’s faction nor any other faction will be able to rein in all of the other factions. Meanwhile, the sultan, presumably the only religious leader who could unite all Muslims in Nigeria, has become the enemy of Shekau’s faction, thus eliminating the possibility that intra-Muslim dialogue can quell the insurgency in northern Nigeria.

Jacob Zenn is a Washington D.C.-based legal adviser specializing in international law and best practices related to the freedom of association. He is also an analyst of West African Affairs for The Jamestown Foundation and is the author of the forthcoming Occasional Paper entitled “Northern Nigeria’s Boko Haram: The Prize in al-Qaeda’s Africa Strategy,” to be released by The Jamestown Foundation in November 2012. In June 2012, he conducted field research in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon on the socio-economic factors behind the Boko Haram insurgency. He earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and  a degree in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins SAIS Nanjing campus.

[1] The group rejects the name “Boko Haram,” which translates to “Western education is sinful” in the Hausa language. Locals gave the name to Muhammad Yusuf and his followers because they rejected Western science. The group refers to itself as Jama`at Ahl al-Sunna li al-Da`wa wa al-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad).

[2] The sultan of Sokoto has the title amir al-mu’minin (Arabic for “commander of the faithful”) and is considered the spiritual leader of the Sunni Muslim community in Nigeria. The sultan carries influence in particular with the Fulanis and Hausas of northern Nigeria, but less with the Kanuris of Borno State. The first Sultan was Usman dan Fodio, the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate and Fulani Empire.

[3] Sunny Nwankwo, “Boko Haram Says No More Negotiations With FG,” Leadership, March 21, 2012.

[4] Serge Daniel, “Islamist Fighters Ready for Battle in Northern Mali,” Agence France-Presse, September 26, 2012; Walid Ramzi, “Algeria Disrupts Terror Plot,” Magharebia, September 25, 2012.

[5] Nigeria is unofficially divided into six geopolitical zones, with all 36 of the country’s states and Abuja Federal Capital Territory falling into one of these zones. The geopolitical zones do not represent ethnic or religious homogeneity and are accepted in political discourse by almost all Nigerians. The North-West zone includes Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa and Zamfara and formed the core area of influence of the Sokoto Caliphate. The Sokoto Caliphate lasted from 1804 until the British abolished the caliphate in 1903. The British, however, retained the sultan as a symbolic position in the newly established Northern Nigeria Protectorate. The current sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, maintains this status in present-day Nigeria. Borno State and Yobe State in present-day North-East zone, which are the main areas of Boko Haram operations, remained outside of the influence of the Sokoto Caliphate and were under the influence of the ethnic Kanuri-led Borno-Kanem Empire (1380-1893). Thus, the shehu of Borno, not the ethnic Fulani sultan of Sokoto, is the traditional ruler of Borno State.

[6] “Kano Police: 186 People Killed in Boko Haram Attack,” ThisDayLive, January 23, 2012.

[7] “Our Next Target is Sokoto, Says Boko Haram Spokesman,” Sahara Reporters, January 29, 2012; Ismail Mudashir, “No Boko Haram Members in Sokoto Prison–Attorney General,” Daily Trust, January 30, 2012. The Sokoto State commissioner for justice denied Boko Haram’s allegations when he said he was “not aware of any Boko Haram members in detention in Sokoto.”

[8] Nigeria is split fairly evenly between a predominantly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

[9] “Death Toll in Nigeria Suicide Car Bombing that Struck Easter Rises to at Least 41 People,” Associated Press, April 10, 2012.

[10] “Three Churches Bombed in Northern Nigeria’s Kano State,” Global Post, June 17, 2012. These attacks, like others in the Middle Belt, further Boko Haram’s goals of exacerbating Muslim-Christian religious tensions, undermining faith in the government’s ability to provide security, and forcing the Christian population to flee from northern Nigeria.

[11] Muhammad Bello et al., “Four Killed in First Boko Haram Attack in Sokoto,” ThisDayLive, July 31, 2012.

[12] Isa Sa’idu et al., “Gunmen Attack Sambo’s House in Zaria – As Suicide Bomber Hit Sokoto,” Daily Trust, July 31, 2012.

[13] “JTF Kills Two, Intercepts Eight Rocket Launchers,” Vanguard, August 1, 2012.

[14] “Boko Haram Razes Police Outpost in Sokoto,” Sahara Reporters, August 6, 2012. Shehu Shagari served as president of Nigeria’s Second Republic from 1979 to 1983.

[15] In 2011, there were nearly four times as many attacks in Borno State than the rest of northern Nigeria, while from January to September 2012, there were nearly twice as many attacks in the rest of northern Nigeria than in Borno. See “A Threat to the Entire Country,” Economist, September 29, 2012.

[16] The high-ranking members include: Bakura Kulima (also known as Bin Walid), who was killed in Maiduguri, Borno State, on October 21; Shuaibu Mohammed Bama, who was reportedly arrested in the home of a senator, who is his uncle, in Maiduguri on October 18; Abubakr Yola (also known as Abu Jihad), who was killed in Mubi, Adamawa State, on September 25; the field commander in charge of Kogi, Abuja and Kaduna, who was killed in Kano on September 17; and a Boko Haram spokesperson under the pseudonym Abu Qaqa, who was reportedly killed in Kano on September 17.

[17] Ike Abonyi, “Our Plans to Islamize the Country – Qaqa, Sokoto,” This Day, March 8, 2012. According to the interrogation of a captured spokesman in April 2012, Boko Haram wants  “to reduce the powers of the sultan to traditional rulership functions, while all religious authority would be vested with [Boko Haram’s] leader to be based in Yobe,” and “any ruler that would obstruct [Boko Haram’s] plans would regret his action.” See also “Nigeria Suicide Bomber Targets Maiduguri Mosque,” BBC News Africa, July 13, 2012; “Emir’s Bodyguard, Mosque Aide Hurt in Suicide Attack in Potiskum,” Vanguard, August 3, 2012. The author has counted more than 30 assassinations of political and religious leaders attributed to Boko Haram since October 2010, particularly those who publicly spoke out against the group. On July 13, 2012, a teenage boy carried out a suicide bombing at a mosque in Maiduguri that came so close to killing the shehu of Borno, whose status in Borno is similar to the sultan’s in the rest of Nigeria, that the shehu’s clothes were “splattered with blood” and five people surrounding him were killed. Then, on August 3, 2012, a Boko Haram suicide bomber attempted to kill the amir of Fika, who is also the chairman of the Yobe State Traditional Council of Chiefs, at a mosque in Potiskum, Yobe State. The suicide bomber killed seven people surrounding the amir, but the amir survived. On August 5, explosions were reported at the amir’s palace, but the amir again was unharmed.

[18] “Islam, Christianity Not at War – Sultan,” Vanguard, December 27, 2011; Luka Binniyat and Victoria Ojeme, “End Bloodshed Now – Sultan,” Vanguard, May 25, 2012.

[19] Olawale Rasheed, “Boko Haram: FG Reaches Out to Muslim Leaders, Scholars – May Skip Mali Mission,” Nigerian Tribune, July 2, 2012; Muhammad Bello, “Govt in Dialogue with Boko Haram ‘Via Back Channels,’” ThisDayLive, August 27, 2012.

[20] “Statement By Boko Haram’s Spokesperson Debunking Reports Of Dialogue With The Nigerian Government,” Sahara Reporters, August 23, 2012; “Northern Governors, NSA Spending Millions On Fake Boko Haram Dialogue Facilitators -Source,” Sahara Reporters, August 5, 2012.

[21] Bayo Oladeji et al., “Boko Haram Picks Ahmed Datti as Mediator,” Leadership, March 14, 2012.

[22] Such credentials include 1) Shaykh Datti Ahmed’s call to “defend the Islamic Faith” to prevent a Miss World pageant in Abuja in 2002 (Boko Haram attacked ThisDay newspaper’s office in Abuja on April 28, 2012, in retaliation for a comment ThisDay made in 2002 that the Prophet Muhammad would want to marry a beauty queen; 2) his leadership to undermine a polio vaccination program in northern Nigeria in 2003 on the premise that it was a ploy by the West to cause infertility in Muslims or inject them with HIV; 3) his statement in 2004 that the Nigerian Taliban are “very sophisticated youth. I can understand why they [killed several policemen]”; and 4) his threat in 2011 that Muslims were “ready to go to war” if anyone stood in the way of Shari`a compliant non-interest banking. See Kingsley Omonobi et al., “Boko Haram: FG Panel Calls for Amnesty,” Vanguard, September 27, 2011; “Boko Haram Released Exclusive Raw Video Of Thisday Bombing Nigeria,” May 1, 2012, available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7xSGm4StY4; “Riots Force Miss World Out of Nigeria,” BBC, November 23, 2002; Musa Umar Kazaure, “Polio Vaccine Controversy: Datti Ahmed Challenges Nigeria Medical Association On Competence,” Daily Trust, December 12, 2003; “Sheikh Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, Defender of the Faith,” Guardian [Lagos], September 3, 2012; “Datti Ahmed’s Threat of War,” Nigerian Tribune, August 4, 2011.

[23] Alaba Johnson, “Why I am Pulling Out as Mediator for Boko Haram Peace Talks-Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, President, Supreme Council for Shari’a in Nigeria,” NaijaPundit, March 18, 2012; Abdulkadir Badsha Mukhtar, “Nigeria: Hassan Tukur – I Never Sabotaged Boko Haram Talks,” Daily Trust, May 4, 2012.

[24] “Sako Zuwa Ga Duniya (A Message to The World)!” September 30, 2012, available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=txUJCOKTIuk.

[25] Nigerian academics distinguish Boko Haram from the Niger Delta militants, for whom an amnesty in 2009 was constitutionally “justifiable” and a “step in the right direction” toward ending that insurgency. See Samuel Asuquo Ekanem et al., “Boko Haram and Amnesty: A Philo-Legal Appraisal,” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science 2:4 (2012); “Nigerians Reject Amnesty for Boko Haram Members…Prefer Military Action, Believe Sect Can be Crushed – NOI/Gallup Polls,” Beegeagle’s Blog, April 26, 2012.

[26] These disagreements date to the events surrounding the death of Muhammad Yusuf, who was one of more than 700 Boko Haram members killed by Nigerian security forces during a four-day uprising in July 2009. Several months after his death, Abubakar Shekau, who was Yusuf’s deputy, became Boko Haram’s leader and led Boko Haram on a more militant and controversial path.

[27] Ike Abonyi and Tokunbo Adedoja, “Boko Haram Kills Spokesman Abu Qaqa II,” ThisDayLive, April 15, 2012.

[28] Kanuris are the dominant ethnic group in Borno State, whereas Hausas and Fulanis are predominant ethnic groups throughout the rest of northern Nigeria. See Bashir Adefaka, “Terrorism: More Muslims are Killed than Christians – Joji, Arewa Chief,” Vanguard, May 13, 2012; Yusuf Alli, “How Bombers are Chosen, by Boko Haram Suspect,” The Nation, February 9, 2012.

[29] The English translation is “Supporters of the Muslims in the Land of the Blacks.”

[30] Daniel Idonor et al., “Boko Haram Sect Splits,” Vanguard, July 21, 2011.

[31] “Boko Haram: Splinter Group, Ansaru Emerges,” Vanguard, February 1, 2012.

[32] “Boko Haram: Six Killed in Factional Clash,” ThisDayLive, February 3, 2012.

[33] “World Exclusive: Another Islamic Sect emerges…to Counter Boko Haram?” Desert Herald, June 2, 2012.

[34] This statement was accessed on www.muslm.net.

[35] “Killings In The North: No Reconciliation With The Federal Govt, Says Sect,” Guardian [Lagos], July 25, 2011.

[36] On July 6, 2011, for example, Boko Haram spokesman Abu Zaid said, “We as a group do not kill people who are innocent…in regaining the pride of the people in Islam, people have to endure in losing their properties and sometimes lives are also involved and this can fall on everyone, including us.” See Malachy Uzendu and Ben Ukeji, “We’re Stock Piling Bombs – Boko Haram,” Daily Champion, July 8, 2011; Ahmad Salkida, “The Story Of Nigeria’s First Suicide Bomber – BluePrint Magazine,” Sahara Reporters, June 27, 2011.

[37] “Niger Police Arrest Five Suspected Boko Haram Members,” Vanguard, September 27, 2012.

[38] Emmanuel Ogala, “Boko Haram Gets N40 Million Donation From Algeria,” Sahara Reporters, May 13, 2012.

[39] “Video Shows Hostages Held by Al-Qaeda,” Agence France-Presse, August 4, 2011.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.; Matthew Holehouse, “British Hostage Murder: Timeline of How the Kidnap of Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara by al-Qaeda Unfolded,” Telegraph, March 8, 2012.

[42] Nick Pisa and Christopher Leake, “Hostages’ Families had Paid Kidnappers £1m: Deal to Release Briton and Italian Held in Nigeria ‘Was Very Close after £4m Ransom Demand Agreed,’” Daily Mail, March 10, 2012; “SSS Detains 5 with ‘Al Qaeda-links’ Over German Kidnap,” Vanguard, March 27, 2012.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] The author estimates that there have been several dozen bank robberies attributed to Boko Haram since 2011 in which hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen. This is also an attractive way for Boko Haram to attract new recruits.

[47] “Boko Haram Spokesman Denies Link to Nigerian Kidnap,” Reuters, March 10, 2012.

[48] “Al-Andalus Media Presents a New Statement and Video Message from al-Qa’idah in the Islamic Maghrib: ‘To the German Government: If They Release Umm Sayf Allah al-Ansar Then We Will Release To You Our Prisoner,’” available at www.jihadology.net.

[49] Petter Nesser, “Lessons Learned from the September 2007 German Terrorist Plot,” CTC Sentinel 1:4 (2008).

[50] “Al-Andalus Media Presents a New Statement from al-Qa’idah in the Islamic Maghrib: ‘On the Killing of the German Prisoner in Nigeria,’” available at www.jihadology.net.

[51] Habeeb I. Pindiga et al., “Kidnap of German – Mauritanian, Four Others Arrested in Kano,” Daily Trust, March 28, 2012.

[52] “SSS Detains 5 with ‘Al Qaeda-links’ Over German Kidnap.”

[53] Olawale Rasheed, “Arms Inflow from Northern Borders Intensifies: The Gaddafi Mercenaries Connection, Boko Haram Members Relocate to Kano, Others,” Nigerian Tribune, October 3, 2011; “Army Arrests Immigration Officer, Others over Boko Haram Links,” ThisDayLive, September 29, 2012; Lydia Beshel, “Challenges of Nigeria’s Porous Borders,” Reporters 365, August 9, 2012.

[54] Ibid.

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