Two Nigerian affiliates of the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — Boko Haram and the Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis- Sudan — are planning major reprisals to protest Nigeria’s participation in the Mali war.
Nigeria has deployed forces in northern Mali to flush out the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist groups who have taken control of the vast desert territory.
Barely 48 hours after the Mali mission, terror operations increased in the northern part of the country with not less four attacks in three days leading to the death of about 30 people.
While claiming responsibility for the attack on Mali-bound soldiers in Kogi State and the kidnap of a French citizen, Francis Colump, in Katsina State, the sect said its actions were based on France and Nigeria’s major role in the attack on Islamists in northern Mali.
Security agents said that the sects, particularly JAMBS, planned to protest Nigeria’s participation in the Mali war, in the form of bomb attacks and kidnap of expatriates. It was learnt that while JAMBS would concentrate on foreign targets, Boko Haram would focus on local targets.
A top intelligence officer, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said, “The survival of JAMBS and Boko Haram depends on the survival of the Islamists in Mali. If the terrorists in Mali are wiped out, that is the end of the ones in Nigeria and that is why Nigeria is at the fore-front of the Mali war.
“We have reports that the violent sects here have been instructed to increase their terror acts and it is not surprising. That is why they have become very restive in the North. We are at the border to intercept whatever arms they are planning to bring in. We also have plain-clothes security men in the North monitoring activities. We are ready for them.”