London: The Boko Haram militant group is responsible for three explosions in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, which killed 58 people and injured more than 30. They may plot attacks on the West, including Britain.
Members of the Boko Haram. File Pic
Nigerian minister Osita Chidoka, a close associate of President Goodluck Jonathan, said that the Islamist group might compete with its global jihadi counterparts to commit atrocities abroad.
He accused the international community of failing to give Nigeria the support it needed to combat the extremists. “Boko Haram will try to copy groups like ISIS (IS) and Al Shabaab. It can target the West, Europe, Britain.” He added, “The danger is that they can go beyond the region and become international.”
The minister stressed that an augmented African Union (AU) force in northeastern Nigeria, renewed operations by the Nigerian military and civic measures by the government would lead to the Boko Haram being controlled.
Since Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader, mimicked the IS by announcing his own caliphate six months ago — declaring that the new fiefdom no longer “has anything to do with Nigeria” — the group has launched incursions into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. However, international attention has focused mostly on operations against the IS in Syria and Iraq.
There are fears that some Muslims among the large Nigerian diaspora in western Europe and North America are at the risk of
Boko Haram, which has killed more than 13,000 people in Nigeria since 2009, also carries out cross-border raids into Chad, Cameroon and Niger, which have joined Nigeria to form a military coalition.