An Al Qaeda-linked operative helped orchestrate the UN headquarters bombing in Nigeria that killed 23 people last Friday, according to a statement released on Wednesday by Nigeria’s Department of State Services:
Investigation has revealed that one Mamman Nur, a notorious Boko Haram element with al Qaeda links who returned recently from Somalia, working in concert with two suspects masterminded the attack on the United Nations building in Abuja.
The car bomb that detonated inside the UN complex gutted an entire floor, smashed nearly all of the building’s windows and also wounded 80 people, in what many consider one of the worst attacks the UN has suffered in its history.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful”, wants to impose Sharia law throughout Nigeria and, unlike past militant groups that have wreaked havoc in the West African country, these holy warriors are not motivated by oil pipelines.
Back in June, Boko Haram extremists killed 11 Nigerians after bombing two police stations in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. But the UN bombing represents an evolution of sorts in Boko Haram’s tactics, reach and capacity. The attack showcased more powerful explosives, an escalation from local to international targets and evidence of collaboration with the global jihad.
Nigerian columnist Tolu Ogunlesi’s comments seem eerily clairvoyant in light of this trend, when he wrote in a NEXT.com opinion piece less than 3 months ago:
There is yet no evidence that Boko Haram (sometimes also referred to as Nigeria’s Taliban) is linked to Al-Qaeda, but considering that there is an active branch of Al-Qaeda in North Africa (Algeria), it is only a matter of time before a mutually beneficial alliance is worked out – the brand equity and organisational efficiency of Al-Qaeda combining with the local experience and recruiting prowess of Boko Haram.
Meanwhile, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who hails from Nigeria’s Christian south, has vowed to increase security and bring terrorism in the country under control.
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