Is­lamic ex­trem­ists claim 40 troops killed in Nige­ria

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

LA­GOS — Is­lamic ex­trem­ists said on Tues­day they killed more than 40 troops from a multi­na­tional force in an at­tack on a con­voy in north­east Nige­ria — the fourth at­tack in three days fol­low­ing a lull as Nige­ria’s home­grown in­sur­gency con­fronts a lead­er­ship strug­gle.

An­a­lysts are warn­ing that the strug­gle could lead to more vi­o­lent at­tacks that will kill more peo­ple in a 7-yearold Is­lamic up­ris­ing started by Boko Haram that has killed more than 20 000 peo­ple, forced 2.6 mil­lion from their homes and spread to neigh­bor­ing states.

The Is­lamic State’s West Africa Province an­ni­hi­lated “a con­voy of the African Coali­tion Cru­sader forces” in the town of Malam Fa­tori, the SITE In­tel­li­gence Group re­ported, trans­lat­ing an ISIS com­mu­nique posted on so­cial me­dia. There was no way to in­de­pen­dently ver­ify the claim and no word from Nige­ria’s mil­i­tary late Tues­day night.

Eigh­teen peo­ple were killed Sun­day and Mon­day when in­sur­gents am­bushed an­other con­voy, gunned down Chris­tians leav­ing a Sun­day church ser­vice and be­headed a vil­lage head and his son. No one has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the ear­lier at­tacks. Tues­day’s was the first Nige­ria at­tack claimed by the ISIS group since Au­gust, when it named a new caliph in Nige­ria and pro­voked a strug­gle with the long­time leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.

Shekau pledged Boko Haram’s al­le­giance to the Is­lamic State in 2015, giv­ing it its first sub-Sa­ha­ran fran­chise. Is­lamic State said it re­placed Shekau in Au­gust, in a dis­pute that re­volved around his in­dis­crim­i­nate killings of Mus­lims.

Many more Mus­lims than Chris­tians have been killed in at­tacks tar­get­ing mosques, churches, mar­ket­places and schools.

Tues­day’s Is­lamic State com­mu­nique did not say when the con­voy was at­tacked but claimed it “re­sulted in killing more than forty and wound­ing dozens” of troops from Nige­ria and neigh­bor­ing coun­tries. The multi-na­tional force is also bat­tling Nige­ria’s home-grown Is­lamic in­sur­gents who have spread their ex­trem­ist up­ris­ing to Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

An­a­lysts from IHS Jane’s Ter­ror­ism and In­sur­gency Cen­tre warned the re­cent lull and drop in fa­tal­i­ties likely will be fol­lowed by in­creased cross-bor­der at­tacks.

In the lead­er­ship strug­gle, Shekau has re­verted to the old name for his group, Jama’atu Ah­lis Sunna Lidda’awati walJi­had, mean­ing “Peo­ple Com­mit­ted to the Prop­a­ga­tion of the Prophet’s Teach­ings and Ji­had”. They are com­monly called Boko Haram, a nick­name that means “West­ern ed­u­ca­tion is for­bid­den or evil”. — AFP

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