Obama urged to become a Muslim

“You said I’m a global terrorist, then you are a terrorist in the next world,” Shekau the shadowy leader of Boko Haram is quoted in the media as saying to the United States. “I call on you (Nigerian President Goodluck) Jonathan, you should abandon this ungodly power, you should repent and forsake Christianity, including Obama, who said I have business interests in the United States.”

This very specific reference to the US president did not just occur now. They were made about a year ago.

Yet to hear Ambassador John Campbell, you wouldn’t think so “Though the insurgency uses much of the rhetoric of jihadist movements elsewhere and is increasingly adopting their tactics, it remains essentially a domestic revolt against the Nigerian state rather than part of an international jihadist movement.”

Speaking in a sarcastic tone, an AK-47 leaning against the wall next to him, he also says, “I know the United States exists, but I don’t know which part of the world it is located in, whether in the west or the north, the south or the east.

“I don’t know where it is, not to talk of freezing my assets there.”

N.B This blog post was originally drafted one year ago today

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Then they came for the girls…

The saga of over 200 school girls abducted by Nigerian terror group Boko Haram has witnessed yet another cruel twist. Authorities have now revised the estimates from an initial hundred to eight, two hundred forty three and then now two hundred seventy six.
Whether or not the government ever gets the figures right, there is a child shaped vacuum in each parents heart that aches for each daughter turned dubitable statistic.
Beyond the numbers is the deeply disturbing fact that this incident highlights the stark brutality of the terror war on Nigeria.
On April 14, a week before I arrived Nigeria on a relief mission, suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked the predominantly Christian village of Chibok and herded of hundreds of innocent female students.
The national and global news reports have been picking up but this is not the first time jihadist group Boko Haram has conducted abductions.
In 2005, Boko Haram infamously abducted Christian pastors and moved them into their mountain camps where they were used as slaves until their subsequent rescue by the Nigerian army.
In 2009, Boko Haram’s leader, Mohammed Yusuf, abducted scores of pastors and Christians and kept them in his mosque grounds in the heart of Maiduguri, capital of northeastern Borno state where the terrorists are largely based. In a notorious conversion ceremony, he asked them to convert or die and Yusuf personally beheaded pastor George Ojih who refused to renounce his Christian faith. The surviving Christians who recanted their faith after the public decapitation were to be rescued only when the Nigerian army captured the terrorists’ campus. Yusuf died in police custody shortly after his arrest.
Post-2009 Boko Haram under new head terrorist Abu Shekau has evolved into a lethal, blood thirsty and sophisticated jihadist group with a combination of media savvy and advanced weaponry. The START Report ranked it the second deadliest terror group in the world in 2012.
Shekau oversaw the southward expansion of Boko Haram’s theater of conflict and in 2011, four bombings occurred around the nation’s capital, Abuja. The police headquarters building in June, All Christian Fellowship church in July, the United Nation’s building in August and St Theresa’s Catholic Church in December. That Christmas Day suicide bombing had the highest casualty in the capital area -44 lives – before the April 14, 2014 bus station attack that claimed double that figure.
Boko Haram and it’s offshoot Ansaru have also been linked to several kidnappings for ransom of westerners in Northern Nigeria and Cameroun. Rescue attempts by the army resulted in executions of hostages from Italy, UK, Germany amongst others.
However it is the abduction of 276 school girls that same week that has focused global attention on Boko Haram and it’s unknown history of gender-based violence.
While the world watched in helpless horror the hundreds missing on Malaysian flight 370 followed by the South Korean ferry disaster, the Boko Haram is a new low of man’s inhumanity to woman, or more appropriately, girl child, that boggles the mind.
Sadly, this was not completely unforeseen. A September 2013 fact-finding mission I conducted determined that Boko Haram had began specifically targeting females and school children.
Earlier, we had encountered a lady, Mrs Shettima, whose husband was killed in front of her kids for refusing to convert to Islam. Irritated by her crying daughters, the terrorists abducted them. They were aged seven and nine at the time of the 2012 incident.
Far from being an isolated incident, it wasn’t until our unscheduled rescue of a fleeing female Boko Haram slave bride that the systematic pattern of female targeting became evident.
In Feb 2012, we visited an IDP camp for Christians who had fled coordinated house-to-house killings in northeastern Yobe state. Their homes were marked with graffiti and at night terrorists would come in and kill only the men. This was Boko Haram’s strategy for gendercide and religicide. 
With the massive flight of men, it was only a matter of time for the ever resilient terrorists to devise a strategy that encompasses women. Gender-based violence against men has been substituted for GBV against women now that the wells have run dry.
How about schools? Why school kids? Boko Haram is famously anti-western education. Pakistan and Nigeria accounted for more terror attacks on schools than the rest of the world combined in 2012.
While those attacks were mostly on empty school buildings, there was the ocassional campus massacre like the Mubi polytechnic attack of October 1, 2012. Students were asked their names and religion, asked to recite a quranic verse and when they failed, were killed.
By 2014, Boko Haram attacked a middle school and butchered 59 boys in a horrific massacre that set a new moral, age and terror low for the jihadists. Survivors narrated how their genitals were methodically checked for pubic hair growth to determine their maturity for slaughter.
The conclusion of our study is that with the shuttering of many churches in the northeast, the mass displacement of mostly religious and ethnic minorities either as IDPs within Nigeria or refugees in neighboring countries, Boko Haram needs other soft targets.
In Yobe state, from a high of over 1000 churches, barely 80 pastors now remain according to a pastor from there we interviewed – over 95% attrition – percentages higher than the decimation of Christians. The Buni Yadi middle school massacre in February 2014 was in Yobe state. It was also the first time children that young were killed on such a scale.
During that attack, the attackers warned female students to leave school and get married. They were of “marriageable” age.
A Chibok victim we spoke to had his house bombed by the terrorists. 15 members of his family were amongst the abducted girls. His niece who escaped the Boko Haram camp by crawling under a briar fence that badly scarred her back quotes her captors, “school is bad.” They promised to “share” the girls out in marriage.
Ultimately the Chibok abductions highlight two main issues with regard to the state that are deeply unsettling. That the terrorists were able to con the principal to handover the girls to protect them and then take them like lambs to the slaughter, creates a credibility crisis for government directives on future evacuations.
This is aggravated by a crisis of confidence in the government’s response to the kidnappings. A military statement calling for “prayer” was decidedly telling on what the strategy is. There are no known lines of communication or negotiation with the terrorists and parents trooped through the forests in search of their children with no visible presence of the army in a notorious terrorist enclave.
Sadly, the terrorists now know what atrocities garner headlines and being resilient and media savvy, they will come for the girls.
Worse still, with inadequate record keeping, lack of a citizen data-base, absence of a human impact response and systemic dissimulation as state strategy, it will be difficult to tell if all the Chibok girls will ever be rescued or accounted for – whether 243 or 276. In the hearts of her parents, there is a child-shaped miracle that makes her more than a static.
Even if they are all found alive, there are deeper issues beneath the surface as my own interaction with female escapees from Boko Haram shows.
Speaking with a colleague about the terrorists’ rules of engagement that limits them from killing women, she eloquently stated, “there are somethings that you would do to a woman that are worse than death.”
The time for contingency planning is now.

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For Easter, Campbell Pulls Rabbit out of His Mouth

When you read this NBC report – that Boko Haram are local and not global terrorists, that they are fighting poverty and that they are targetting Muslims more, you realize how much of an ignoramus ambassador Campbell is. Then when you come to the end of it, you find he admits he is ignorant – something some have known for long. So why did they publish the opinions of a self-acclaimed ignoranus? http://www.nbcnews.com/#/news/world/who-are-boko-haram-extremists-escalate-nigeria-terror-campaign-n84046

Campbell pulls another rabbit trick out of his mouth – hard to believe he was once an ambassador to Nigeria with the level of ignorance displayed here. Boko Haram says they are global jihadists, they admit training by Alshabab etc, they used to be called the “Nigerian Taliban,” they operated training camps in Mali so why does he believe so much in the innocence of these local jihadists? If churches have been the main target of Boko Haram in the last few years, how is it possible for Muslims to be the most victims? 

The NBC article is itself a disservice to the facts. Not one mosque has been bombed by Boko Haram. Not one. Numerous churches have been attacked, bombed, shot, burnt – we are talking hundreds.

These blood-thirsty medieval throat-slitting barbarians are portrayed as Robin Hoods of sorts. This is not an economic revolt – this is a classic jihad to impose islam on infidels like Campbell and his ilk. Its not about corruption or poverty. Nigeria, China and India account for two-thirds of the world’s poor, yet you do not see terrorism on these levels in China or India which have much hundreds of millions of poor compared to Nigeria’s tens of millions.

It is particularly pathetic that the article implies that this is a war against the corrupt and rich south. Nay. The south has actually been exploited and oppressed by the north and the deprived and destitute oil-producing Niger Delta actually led a violent and genuine poverty and justice-based militancy against the central government. Even at that they were more humane than the Boko Haram beasts.

I hope Campbell gets an Easter Basket out of this atrocious mis-writing of history. Boko Haram couldn’t have found a truer friend and apologist then a former top US official but if a gift basket does come in the mail, he shouldn’t believe his own hype and think Boko Haram loves him and hates only Nigerian southerners.

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The State of Deception: Still playing at an embassy near you

Although the US has finally designated Nigerian-based Jihadist Terror Group Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, the false narrative that sustained the delay in US recognition of this hideous organization continues.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s recently released human rights country conditions report continues a systematic pattern of egregious false reporting once again by DOS:
“Throughout much of the country, Boko Haram perpetrated numerous killings and attacks, often directly targeting civilians. During the year the sect, which recruited child soldiers, claimed responsibility for coordinated assaults on social and transportation hubs in Kano; an attack on the town of Baga; multiple attacks on schools and mosques; an attack on the town of Benesheik; and the killing of government, religious, and traditional figures. On February 17, the terrorist group Ansaru, believed to be a Boko Haram faction, kidnapped seven foreigners in Bauchi State” – Executive Summary of the Nigeria report

Over 300 churches were attacked and about 2 mosques in 2013. The churches got no mention but the mosques did even though Christians are Boko Haram’s declared number one target.
Boko Haram has gone out of its way to emphasize that it does not attack Islamic places of worship. However it does assassinate Muslim critics after worship when they are vulnerable. Boko Haram’s first attack inside a mosque in the 5-year insurgency occurred in 2013. They targets were Muslims who had cooperated with the authorities against the terrorists. It was not a random attack on Christians as has been the case.
Recently, Boko Haram acknowledged killing a Muslim cleric who had been critical of them. It is likely the terrorists’ first claim of responsibility for the killing of a fellow Muslim.
The question remains – why is the US downplaying or denying the attacks against Christians?
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http://odili.net/news/source/2013/dec/1/800.html

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The Face of Resident Terror

Escapees from the northern Nigerian state of Kano paint a disturbing picture of the massive killings of Christians by jihadist terror group Boko Haram.

Sefia (name changed for her protection) says she fled after many friends, acquaintances and neighbors were killed around her.

She recalls a neighbor who stepped outside his door to brush his teeth and was brutally gunned down by the terrorists last year.
This year, another neighbor was killed as he watched football in a sport club. This time the terrorists came back a couple of days later to apologize to his parents.
It was a case of mistaken identity, they said. They had written to another man to notify him that they were going to kill him. That fellow fled town immediately.
Unfortunately Sefia’s neighbor who was a well-liked college grad on national service was mistaken for him and murdered by the terrorists.
This, says Sefia, was the turning point. In times past, the killers would be masked. Now they come in broad daylight and total impunity.
One day a bike rode past her with 4 men on it. It struck her as curious why they all piled on like that.
Moments later, she heard gunshots. She watched as one of the men calmly took off his blood stained robes and changed to another in full public view before getting on the bike and riding away.
Sefia says she suspects other Muslims who have generally attacked Christians and churches over the decades are joining in on the terrorists’ bandwagon to kill Christians with impunity.
One Sunday, two prominent Christian brothers were on their way home from church when they were stopped by gun men who threatened to kill them. The boys pleaded with the captors – the eldest negotiated with them to kill him and spare his younger brother as their mother was a widow.
A passerby also entreated them to have mercy. The gunmen shot all three of them – both bothers died.

Sefia herself survived the horrendous January 20, 2012 massacre in Kano which was the worst single day casualty in any global conflict that year alongside Syria.

Boko Haram attacked multiple locations in carefully coordinated attacks.

Unlike her colleagues, Sefia decided to remain in her office after her brother phoned her to stay put. A married male colleague decided to head out to search for his family. A female coworker followed him in his car.

At midnite Sefia finally left her office, the sole remaining occupant after its roof caved in from the bomb blasts around town. Fortunately she wasn’t injured.
She trekked for miles on her way home passing by mounds of corpses by the side of the road. It was like a “movie set”, she says, so surreal.
Those who moved around it seems were the prime casualties. She later learnt that Boko Haram had stopped her two colleagues at a checkpoint. He pleaded for his life as did his lady colleague telling them he had children. The terrorists shot him in the head and his brains were splattered all over her clothes where she sat in the front passenger seat.
One terrorist pointed his gun at her but another stopped him from pulling the trigger saying, ” we don’t kill women”.

It was the latest close shave for Sefia. In 2011, Muslim rioters came to burn her home while she and her mum were in it during the so-called “post election”
violence. Her Muslim neighbors lied to the mob that they occupants were Muslims so she escaped being burnt alive – regardless of whether she were female or not.

Those neighbors have themselves now moved. Sefia doesn’t know if the new ones would lie to protect her life. She has fled leaving behind family too old to relocate.

No state of emergency has been declared in Kano and Boko Haram’s capacity has not been downgraded. The killings continue till this day, mostly unreported and undocumented but for interviews with survivors such as this. The US had planned to open a consulate in Kano but the new Assistant secretary for Africa told congress this month that this is on hold. The US only recently designated Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

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Christmas come early? State Department designates Boko Haram an FTO

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