While most news articles focus on the woes of ISIL in Syria, let’s not forget that Boko Haram, Nigeria’s home-grown fundamentalist Islamic terrorist movement, formally declared its allegiance to ISIL a couple of years ago – which led to a split in the organization. It looks as if it’s having as many problems in Nigeria as ISIL is having in the Middle East. StrategyPage reports:
The Boko Haram split began in August 2016 when ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) announced that it was replacing Shekau, who was accused of mismanagement, with Abu Musab al Barnawi. ISIL believed Shekau devoted too much effort to killing fellow Moslems (especially civilians) rather than the real enemies of ISIL (local security forces and non-Moslems in general). ISIL leadership was also unhappy with the Boko Haram use of children and women as suicide bombers. That has become an issue in Nigeria because the use of children as suicide bombers has tripled this year (27 in the first three months of 2017 compared to nine in 2016). While the new Boko Haram leader has concentrated attacks on the security forces and non-Moslems he has also used children, especially females, as suicide bombers. Barnawi is a son of Mohammed Yusuf, one of the ISIL founders. Barnawi was appointed chief Boko Haram spokesman in January 2015. Although Barnawi has developed a following in Boko Haram Shekau refused to accept the ISIL decision.
Boko Haram is now split into competing factions which is nothing new as there have always been some factions, but not to this extent. At this point many Boko Haram loyalists regret the 2015 decision to become part of ISIL, which was believed to be an effort to avoid a split in Boko Haram as more radical members declared themselves followers of ISIL or even tried to go to Syria to join ISIL. Few African Islamic terrorists have done that, largely because of the cost and difficulty travelling from Africa to areas where ISIL is (or was) dominant. But in many parts of the world older Islamic terror organizations are fracturing because their more enthusiastic members prefer the ISIL style of ultra-violence.
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In many parts of the northeast (mainly Borno state) ravaged by Boko Haram violence local civilian militias have been the key element keeping the Islamic terrorists from winning or, at this point, rebuilding … Officially called the Civilian JTF (Joint Task Force or CJTF). There are about 30,000 CJTF volunteers and most are now armed. About two percent of those who joined CJTF have been killed and many more have been wounded or injured while on duty. In effect, about ten percent of the CJTF men have been injured. But the soldiers respect them, the local civilians depend on and support them while Boko Haram has come to fear them.
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By the end of 2014 some CJTF groups were launching attacks on Boko Haram, and usually winning because they knew the area and people better and often were able to launch a surprise attack at night. A major factor in this was that in the more remote areas, like near the Sambisa Forest, the CJTF groups contained a lot of local hunters. These men are professional hunters who thrive in rural areas where there is a lot more game than people. CJTF first demonstrated to the army the skills of local hunters who tracked game for a living. The army noted that the success of CJTF attack units was largely the result of local hunters. Soon the army began to hire some of the hunters who were exceptional trackers as well as offering bounties if they could track down certain Boko Haram men or groups.
There’s more at the link.
I submit it’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening with fundamentalist Islamic terrorism all over the world, because it’s likely to draw in US forces to a greater or lesser extent as it develops. As ISIL is being beaten back in Syria and Iraq, it’s sending its forces back to the parts of the world they originally came from, and encouraging them to set up local ISIL ‘branches’ and continue their terrorist activities there. We saw that in the Philippines last month, where ISIL motivated local Muslim fundamentalists to try to take over an entire city (a situation which has still not been resolved). Nigeria is another flashpoint, one that may still blow up in new and deadly ways as ISIL sends more resources that way. So is Yemen, where Iran (nominally an enemy of ISIL, but which allows the latter to operate from its territory into Afghanistan) has whipped up a full-blown civil war.
Modern fundamentalist Islamic terrorism may have had its roots in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation, but its tentacles have spread to many countries since then, and it shows no signs of slacking off. ISIL’s latest calls to its members and sympathizers to attack Western European nations and civilians are merely the latest episode in an ongoing war of attrition. We’ll do well to keep an eye on what’s going on around the world, to see from where the next wave of terror may spread outwards to create fresh mischief and mayhem, as ‘refugees’ from those areas arrive on our shores to claim ‘asylum’. There are already thousands of them in European nations. If you think that won’t happen here, too . . . think again.