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The Duchess of Muanenguba————————Samira Edi

Hiding In Plain Sight: Boko Haram

The world has been spooked and left spellbound by the breathless spate of homicidal ferocity with which Nigeria’s vicious terrorist group; Boko Haram has imposed itself in that country, and successfully engraved its name on our global psyche, as a dominant force of terror. There is no logic to explain what provokes the fury, for such unspeakable bloodthirstiness from these jungle extremists. However, to prove their validity, they have pegged a tagline to their sanguinary absurdity, with the vile philosophy of globalizing radical Islam, through a systematic eradication of all forms of western education and western values. It is simply proselytization by the long knife. Their full name is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad—which is said to mean, "The Fellowship of the People of the Tradition for Preaching and Holy War." While there are no established links yet between Boko Haram and Al Qaeda, arguably, their coldblooded mass murders will make the Taliban seem like lovely puppies and choir boys. So far, they have given a jumble of inanities as the cause of their grievances. But no one believes them.

The handwork of terrorism. Boko Haram bombed this place in

You have to marvel with great scepticism at the  dubious contradiction in their claims, when they carry out unimaginable jihad by inflicting pure evil indiscriminately on everything within a 100 meters radius of their fury, regardless of ethnicity, religious, political, gender or age persuasions. In fact, even though mass or single assassinations are daily occurrences somewhere in Nigeria, the vast majority of Boko Haram’s victims have been Muslims. I know no Muslim who likes Boko Haram and its medieval methods. Muslims are vexed that these horrid fundamenlists are abusing the name of their religion with a skewed and warped philosophy of halal morality. The daily bombings, assassinations and abductions no longer make world news—within the last two months alone, they could easily have topped themselves, by slaughtering a shocking 3000 or more of their own countrymen Christians, Muslims and pagans inclusive. They seem to be anarchists without borders, with a fascination to snuff out human life without rue, inflict suffering and imposing a reign of terror— while remaining impervious to the pleas or the outrage of the world.

Pres Jonathan (c) seems to express the enormity of his grisly problem to Biya (L) & Hollande (R)

These merchants of death seem to vent their fury with impunity and without rue. When their narcissistic leader; Abubakar Shekau appeared in one of his propaganda videos to rant, surrounded by his acolytes, he had the moxie to talk tough, brimming with a swagger, making a mockery of those who had the audacity to dare to come after them. It seemed he spoke with a firm conviction that the giant Nigerian army was no match for Boko Haram in any standoff. With stunning bravura and astonishing arrogance, the ruthless savage spoke with the cockiness of someone, suspiciously with a solid backup—promising to wreak merciless havoc on those he called "infidels". It begs the question why are they so arrogant—who is protecting them?

Boko Haram Leader flashes an audacious plastic smile Abubakar Shekau (Terrorist)

In a BBC interview, asked why the Nigerian army have manifested a shocking display of incompetence in the face of this insurgency, a Nigerian soldier painted a grim picture of a flailing military. The validity of his claims were proved right when president Goodluck Jonathan cancelled a trip to Chibok; the place where on the night of 14–15 April 2014 Boko Haram natched more than 200 sleeping schoolgirls. The president's aides cited security concerns, while Jonathan fled into the arms of François Hollande in Paris to bemoan.

The soldier conitnued:

We can finish Boko Haram in one week, if the government really wanted.”

He mentioned a demoralized army marooned by government unconcern, poor sleeping conditions, bad food, ill-equipped troops, an underfunded army, no arms, shoddy planning, obsolete and deteriorating equipment, poor uniforms, lack of ammunition, poor communication devices, in shock a dreary army in peril. He ended his complaint with,

“Boko Haram is funded by the Nigerian government.”

This is a shocking statement, given the circumstances. Nigeria’s annual military budget is a staggering $6billion, dwarfing that of many African countries put together. Britain has so far given Nigeria $12million for its military since 2007 and so also have  the USA and China. While the manpower and the firepower of the Nigerian army seems to be depleting, the ranks of the insurgent extremists are swelling along with their arsenal. A typical Boko haram unit consists of between 300 – 500 men. Who knows if the statistics are correct?

Notwithstanding, in reports of a recent standoff with the Nigerian military, 50 Boko Haram fighters were killed, compared to 12 Nigerian soldiers. However, Boko Haram,still managed to make off with the entire stockpile of 200 mortar bombs, 50 rocket-propelled grenades, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition—before getting swallowed into the vast thickness of the Samisa forest jungle with all that military loot like ghosts. How is this possible, when today’s sophisticated technology means that such military equipment have inbuilt tracking systems? Boko Haram have the nerve to enter the capital Abuja and bomb the UN building--its detritus falling a few feet from the seat of the Nigerian governement; itself quaking under a rubble of corruption? They literally carry out daylight robberies on banks without fear. Who protects these thugs?

Check out the heavy military machinery of Boko Haram.

How could so many men, holding so many captives at once, melt like phantoms without trace? Surely,  they're hiding in plain sight? After carrying out their grisly atrocities, these jihadishts have the audacity to simply blend seamlessly with the rest of the society, to carryout ordinary daily chores without seeming out of place. Some are riding their bicycles, are market traders, some on foot, teachers and ordinary members of the society, like the confessions of a serving immigration officer of Nigeria recently revealed. Like Abottabod; where Bin Laden was hiding, any one of these villages in the Nigeria North region under the siege of these terrorists could provide an innocuous and visible cover into which these bloody insurgents disappear to hide, with the full knowledge of the rest of the communities. This will explain why the American drones and military robots have failed so far to track down such a huge group of terrorists and their captives. Amazingly, their camoulfage is blatantly flagrant.

While the Nigerian military disintegrates into dysfunctional fractures, Boko Haram has built a sophisticated and well-organized military apparatus—with a well-defined power structure kept in line by bloody discipline and heavy modern military machinery [ironically, products of Western Education]. The problems associated with the Nigerian military’s unpreparedness are not just because it is fractured along ethnic and religious divides. There is a palpable suspicion that Boko Haram counts top military brass from the Nigerian army as sympathizers among its ranks as well as top politicians and community leaders in the places in which they operate. They alegedly facilitate the easy ambushes by tip-offs, and they supply them with all the arms from the Nigerian military by being unconcerned when they go missing. Ironically while Shell –and other oil companies have lobbied robustly for foreign military aid to swirl the coffers of the Nigerian military, for the benefit of military security for their staff against the various bloodsoaked insurgents, their efforts have produced a reverse outcome. Widespread and endemic corruption also means that when ammunition goes missing, there is no accountability. One of the late dictator, Abacha’s associates did very nicely for himself, when he deposited a cool £122 million into a Jersey offshore account, after selling Nigerian army trucks for five times their worth.

So far, the Nigerian police have been victims of Boko Haram, so it is left in the hands of the army to do something. However, Nigeria is notorious for its army-funding-problems inspired military coups. It happened during past civilian and military governments, including that of Ibrahim Babangida. Each administration tries to put a dent in the possibility of a military coup by cutting the army budget, an act which provokes anger - as the extra money just disappears into private bank accounts usually in Switzerland. Within the ranks of the military quarters, there are swirling rumours of dissatisfaction over the cuts made by the Jonathan administration in the military budget. This may explain why  some express their displeasure by turning a deliberate blind eye to the Boko Haram insurgency.

The Nigerian government's response to the rise of these terrorists has been outrageously negligent. It took President Goodluck Jonathan two weeks during which he played the ostrich, before reacting to the kidnapping of  more than 200 school kids at Chibok, and he has managed not to set his frightened feet in the area til date. When John McCain; America’s defeated presidential candidate of 2008, made known his startling thoughts, that had he been the president, he would have invaded Nigeria, [a sovereign nation] without any permission from a “guy called Goodluck Jonathan,” some began to think that Jonathan may have shown himself as weak in the wake of Boko Haram, making Nigeria ripe to be turned into the next Afghanistan.

Today 23rd May 2014, the UN, on the request of the Nigerian government, decided to impose travel sanctions and asset freezes on members of Boko Haram, declaring the sect a terrorist organization -- years after the US did. This is a farce. Terrorists do not use legitimate means to finance their terrorism. Abubakar Shekau, the terrorist leader is said to be a primitive villager who shuns the comforts of life, refusing to own a car, and will only be found riding a bicycle and wearing tribal robes. They will raid banks and make off with huge cash if they need the money. They'll use innocent looking mules like old women and small children to do some daring deeds wherever they want to operate. No amount of high tech surveillance can beat inside knowledge. If Boko Haram is to be defeate, their hunters have to win the full trust, loyalty and honesty of the villagers where they hide. Otherwise, Nigeria may end up as the next Afghanistan. On the flip side, this will speak eloquently to the value of a standing army that the US has always wanted in that part of Africa.

Camerooon members of the BIR, (Bataillon Blindé, a special task force)

Cameroon’s porous frontiers  seem to provide an easy access point for these terrorists from Nigeria to skip the judicial control of the Nigerian army. Seemingly better equipped than their Nigerian homologues, though, the Cameroon forces are not spared the cancer of corruption. However, they have become the beneficiaries of first class training by OFRICOM, set up by the Americans. It is said that members of the Special Task Force wear body armour and carry high-powered machine guns provided by the Israeli government. But is the government of Cameroon really taking these threats posed by terrorists from their North Westerly neighbour as seriously as the situation demands? Reports are already talking of towns in the heart of the country, far removed from the immediate crisis, already been infiltrated. If we know anything about Cameroon, it is a police state where free movement is almost a near impossibility. One would hope that the constant checks by the police may provide some kind of means to help capture any these terrorists who seem bent on outsourcing their sharia agenda and spreading their version of radical Islam into all of Africa. Can we count on President Biya to protect the citizens at a time when they really need the protection? Cooperation between ALL African countries is now indisputable.

Tchad and Niger are taking this very seriously and have declared war on Boko Haram. 80 American troops are already stationed in Tchad, conducting reconnaissance mission from that base and helping the Tchadian army with some training. In Niger, Nigeria's nothern neighbours, scoresof vigilante groups are on the look out and they are lending a hand to the French and Americans.

Poorly equipped vigilantes in Niger helping the Niger Gendarmes, hoping to stop the formidable Boko Haram.

Amulets and charms prepared by Niger Villager to Combat Boko Haram.

Boko Haram seem to be an invisible band of murderers; with an infinite capacity to wreak havoc. Until a couple of Nigerians rose up to decry the flagrant kidnapping of those 200 and more school kids at Chibok, president Goodluck Jonathan seemed to have no decision-making abilities. Before he decided to accept foreign support, it was Nigerian vigilante groups who were capturing members of Boko Haram. It seems that since the terrorists are using the innocence of the community to hide, it is left for the community to all become vigilantes.

These terrorists are hiding in plain sight!

Boko Haram members captured by Nigerian Vigilantes

members of the Maiduguri Vigilante Group on the hunt for Boko Haram.

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Tags: #Bringbackourgirls,, Biya, Boko Haram,, Cameroon, Chibok, Francois Hollande,, Goodluck Jonathan,, Ibrahim Babangida,, Niger, Nigeria, More…OFCOM, Osama Bin Laden,, Terrorists

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