|Mohammed Yusuf Shah||Mohammed Yusuf Shah||Hizbul Mujahideen||India-Pakistan||20030411|
|New Boko Haram leader is son of founder|
|[UPI] The man named by the Mohammed Yusuf. as 's new leader is the son of the latter group's founder, |
Abu Musab al-Barnawi was declared "governor" of the Nigerian organization in an Islamic State magazine. He is the son of Yusuf, who founded Boko Haram in 2002 and was killed by police in 2009, CNN reported Friday, citing an unidentified source.
Following a leadership split in the sect last month, which saw the rise of Boko Haram Abu Barnawi at the expense of longtime acknowledged leader Abubakar Shekau, Barnawi spoke in an interview of a change in direction. Christians, and not s, will be Boko Haram's target, he said.
He told the magazine the plan is now to "blow up every church that we are able to reach" instead of sectarian violence against other s.
"[Westerners] strongly seek to Christianize the society ... they exploit the condition of those who are displaced under the raging war, providing them with food and shelter and then Christianizing their children," Barnawi said in an interview translated by SITE Intelligence Group.
He added Boko Haram would strike back by "booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach and kill all those who we find from the citizens of the cross."
Barnawi has maintained a low profile within Boko Haram, a contrast to the and hot-tempered Shekau, BBC News reported.
Shekau still maintains some power, with loyal soldiers and crucially, control of schoolgirls in Nigeria's Chibok forest in 2014. The kidnapping of the girls brought global condemnation and attention to Boko Haram, and the abductees are seen as a powerful bargaining chip, CNN said.
|Nigeria: Sharia Council Scribe - Shiites Pose Greater Threat Than Boko Haram|
Ahmed stated this while testifying before the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government to investigate the December 12-14, 2015, between the Nigerian Army and the Shiites in Zaria.
He said the failure of the government to deal decisively with the alleged excesses of the Shi'ites may be catastrophic for the country.
Ahmed also revealed that the late leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, had some relationship with the Shi'ites prior to forming his own group, adding that both Mohammed and the Shiite leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky had similar attitudes in holding onto their respective doctrines which, according to him, are contrary to Islamic principles.
He alleged that the Shi'ites had recently started adopting the Boko Haram strategy of intimidation and elimination of Ulamas who were opposed to their doctrines, saying that many have refrained from testifying before the commission for fear of the unknown.
Ahmed, who lamented the initial government handling of Boko Haram, noted that small fires become huge conflagrations if not tackled in an effective and timely manner, urging the government to learn from its experience with Boko Haram by dealing decisively with the Shi'ites.
|Leader of Ansaru Islamist militant group arrested in Nigeria|
|[FRANCE24] The leader of Nigeria's Ansaru jihadist group, a splinter group ideologically aligned to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has been , an army said on Sunday.|
Khalid al-Barnawi is one of three Nigerians listed by Washington in 2012 as "specially designated global terrorists".
The US Department of State in June 2012 named Barnawi alongside Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and Ansaru founder Abubakar Adam Kambar as terrorists.
"Security agents made a breakthrough on Friday in the fight against terrorism by arresting Khalid al-Barnawi, the leader of Ansaru terrorist group in Lokoja," military Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar said.
"He is among those on top of the list of our wanted terrorists," he added.
Lokoja is the capital of Nigeria's central Kogi state.
"Shekau is the most visible leader of the Nigeria-based group Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad, commonly referred to as Boko Haram," the US state department said 2012.
"Khalid al-Barnawi and Abubakar Adam Kambar have ties to Boko Haram and have close links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb," it said in a statement.
Al-Barnawi assumed the leadership of Ansaru following the death of Kambar in a military raid on his hideout in Kano in March 2012.
"We are very happy about this development (arrest). It is a great breakthrough in our fight against insurgency in the country," Information Minister Lai Mohammed told AFP.
A serving army officer added that his arrest was "a huge succees and will have a profound effect on counter-terrorism operations in Nigeria and beyond".
"He is a known transnational terrorist and the backbone of all Al-Qaeda affiliate groups in west Africa," the officer, who asked not to be named, told AFP.
Ansaru, a splinter group of Boko Haram, specialising in high profile killings and attacks on global interests, is also linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Barnawi, 47, whose real name is Usman Umar Abubakar, hailed from Biu town in restive northeast Borno state.
He and his group have been involved in a string of kidnappings of mostly foreigners.
The group comprises mostly western-educated Boko Haram members who were trained in AQIM camps in the Algerian desert.
They disapproved of Boko Haram's indiscriminate bombing and shooting campaign, preferring instead high profile killings and attacks on western interests.
Kamber and al-Barnawi were both former close allies of the late Boko Haram sect leader Mohammed Yusuf.
Al-Barnawi was the alleged of the 2011 kidnap of a Briton and an Italian, both construction engineers, in northern Kebbi state.
The two hostages were killed in a failed rescue bid by British and Nigerian Special Forces in the northern city of Sokoto in 2012.
Trained in Afghanistan and Algeria, he was also behind the 2012 kidnap of a German construction engineer ‐ Edgar Raupach ‐ in the northern city of Kano.
The German was killed along with four captors in a botched rescue operation by Nigerian troops the same year at a hideout on the outskirts of Kano, where the group is mostly based.
Ansaru also claimed a 2012 attack on a maximum security facility in Abuja where detained Islamists were being held, killing two and freeing 40 inmates.
With the emergence of Ansaru, Barnawi's faction became independent of Boko Haram but still maintained ties.
The group also for the kidnap of a French engineer, Francis Collomp, in northern Katsina state in 2012. He escaped later escaped.
Ansaru claimed the December 26, 2012 attack on a maximum security facility in Abuja where captured Islamists were being held, killing two and freeing 40 detainees.
The group said it was responsible for a 2013 attack on a convoy of Mali-bound Nigerian troops in Kogi state, killing two soldiers and seriously wounding five others.
It issued a statement condemning Nigeria's participation in the "war against the Islamic state of northern Mali".
|Home Front: WoT|
|Swedish citizens get 11 years in U.S. prison for al Shabaab support|
|[REUTERS] Two Swedish citizens who U.S. prosecutors said fought alongside the Islamist group a in Somalia in battles to take control of the country's capital of Mogadishu were sentenced to 11 years in prison on Friday.|
Ali Yasin Ahmed, 31, and Mohammed Yusuf, 33, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, New York, in light of their guilty pleas in May to conspiring to provide material support to al-Shabaab.
Prosecutors had sought 15 years in prison for the Somali-born men, who they called "operational members of a terrorist organization."
But while Gleeson said that was correct, he said he also partly accepted their lawyers' characterizations of the men as freedom fighters who only joined al-Shabaab in order to return to war-torn Somalia to fight against Æthiopia.
"This is not a black-and-white situation," Gleeson said.
Prosecutors said Ahmed and Yusuf abandoned their homes in Sweden in 2008 to travel to Somalia to undergo military and doctrinal training with al-Shabaab.
The group, which seeks to overthrow Somalia's Western-backed government and impose a strict version of sharia, or Islamic law, has links to al Qaeda and has carried out attacks in Kenya and Æthiopia.
After receiving training, Ahmed and Yusuf traveled to Mogadishu, where they fought in battles alongside other U.S. and European fighters who had joined al-Shabaab to take control of the city in 2009, prosecutors said.
Ahmed and Yusuf continued to train and fight with al-Shabaab, prosecutors said, and Yusuf appeared in a propaganda video filmed in Mogadishu urging people to fight on behalf of the group.
The men and a former British citizen, Madhi Hashi, were in August 2012 in Djibouti after illegally crossing the border from Somalia on their way to to join al , prosecutors said.
Their lawyers said the men were tortured while in Djibouti over the next several months before being turned over U.S. authorities for prosecution, though their case had no allegations that they intended any direct harm to the United States.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shreve Ariail said the "unconscionable" treatment they received in Djibouti factored into extending plea deals that capped their prison terms at 15 years.
The men, who before pleading guilty faced 30 years to life in prison, will be deported after they are released from prison.
|Saving Niger’s Uranium Before Boko Haram Gets It|
Niger's government has declared a state of emergency in Diffa. If Boko Haram could establish a base there, it would be within striking range of Niger's Agadez region. The country's uranium output is produced from three Agadez mines. Boko Haram, which has declared allegiance to the , must not be allowed to control one of the world's largest reserves of uranium ore.
In Van Hipp's recent book, The New Terrorism, he proposes we help Niger deplete its uranium reserves before can get them. The author is a friend and his efforts to bring attention to this issue are commendable.
This idea may take years to complete and Hipp believes we should coordinate with the French since French companies work in two of the main uranium mines. The third is run by the Chinese. The Chinese should be cooperative due to their long-term demand for energy.
We must also work with other G7 countries to push for economic aid to Niger in order to get them to extract as much uranium as possible. Intelligence cooperation against Boko Haram from Nigeria and potential Tuareg separatists in the north will also be crucial. Niger is one of the world's poorest countries. Uranium is its leading export. Our allies and we must make sure it's sold to the right people and that Niger has a way to safely keep the proceeds.
Boko Haram is also a tribal phenomenon, as well as Islamic. Both the founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, and its current leader, Abubakar Shekau, are from the Kanuri tribe. While the Hausa and Fulani tribes make up much of the elite in Nigeria, the Kanuri are marginalized and live in the Borno State, its poorest area.
|Troops Stage Raid on 'Senior' Shebab Leaders|
|[AnNahar] Somalia's security agency said Monday it carried out a night raid on key targets inside a Shabaab-controled town in southern Somalia, targeting "senior" commanders.|
Internal security Mohammed Yusuf Osman said that members of the U.S.-trained National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) carried out the attack inside Bardhere town, a stronghold of the Somali-led Al-Qaeda affiliate in Gedo region.
"The specially trained security forces have carried out a well orchestrated attack at key targets inside Bardhere district and they have returned safely after the operation," he said.
Osman said a and the district headquarters used by Shabaab fighters and leaders were targeted in the raid.
"Our forces interrupted a very senior level meeting of (Shabaab) leaders. The intelligence we had indicated the meeting was to plan for more attacks in Somalia and Kenya," NISA said in an emailed statement, which described the raid as "retaliation" for a Shabaab attack in Mogadishu on Sunday.
NISA sources said that a Shabaab leader known as Yusuf Haji was killed in the operation and they were working to confirm whether senior Shabaab commanders, including intelligence chief Mahad Karate and Kenyan university massacre Mohammed Mohamud -- also known by the aliases "Dulyadin" and "Kuno" -- were in the building at the time of the raid.
Witnesses in Bardhere said loud s were heard during the night.
"We have heard several s, but it is very difficult to know more because heavily armed Shabaab are patrolling in the streets," said Hashi Aw Adan, a resident.
US drone strikes have targeted and killed a string of Shabaab leaders in recent months, including the group's emir Ahmed Abdi Godane, in September 2014, but a ground assault inside Shabaab territory is unusual.
Under pressure in Somalia, the Shabaab is increasingly turning its attention to Kenya. In its bloodiest attack to date four Shabaab killed nearly 150 people, mostly students, in an attack on a university in Garissa, northeastern Kenya, in April.
|Home Front: WoT|
|2 Swedes, Somali Plead Guilty in NY over Shebab Conspiracy|
The trio face up to 15 years in an American prison and deportation, prosecutors said in New York.
Prosecutors say Madhi Hashi, 25, from Somalia, and Swedes Ali Yasin Ahmed, 30, and Mohammed Yusuf, 32, were members of the Shabaab group in Somalia from December 2008 to August 2012.
Shabaab is blacklisted as a foreign terrorist organization in the United States and federal prosecutors have spearheaded efforts to try foreign terror cases in New York courts in recent years.
The Swedes fought against US-funded forces in Somalia, prosecutors said. Hashi was close to Omar Hammami, the U.S.-born public face of Shabaab who was killed by fellow fighters in 2013, they added.
Yusuf appeared in a Shabaab video to encourage recruits to travel to Somalia and join the group, and threatened a cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Mohammed -- considered blasphemous to many s.
U.S. officials said the men were by local authorities in East Africa en route to in August 2012, then handed over to the FBI in November 2012 and flown to New York to be prosecuted.
Acting U.S. attorney Kelly Currie said the defendants were "committed supporters" of the Islamist group, which holds large swathes of territory in the south and center of Somalia.
Since 2007, the United States has carried out more than a dozen drone and covert operations targeting Shabaab, according to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism which tracks U.S. covert operations.
In September U.S. missiles killed Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.
|Jonathan enters Boko Haram heartland, vows to end insurgency|
|[Khaleej Times] Maiduguri: Nigerian President held an election rally on Saturday at the epicentre of 's insurgency, vowing to defeat the fighters as locals mourned another 15 deaths.|
The president's visit to Maiduguri, the capital of 's restive Borno state, came the day after Boko Haram killed 15 villagers in nearby Kambari.
"What I can assure you is that if reelected as president, the problem of insecurity will be addressed," Jonathan, who is seeking a second four-year term in the February 14 vote, told his supporters at the rally.
"I am deeply disturbed by the number of people who due to activities of some irresponsible people," he added.
Jonathan said he had assured local traditional and Islamic leaders of his resolve to end the insurgency.
The president ordered a minute's silence in respect of the victims of the protracted Boko Haram violence.
There was a heavy security presence before and during Jonathan's visit, the latest in a series of campaign stops across Nigeria, with hundreds of armed police and sniffer dogs deployed at strategic areas.
The president visited Maiduguri briefly on January 15, his first stop there since March 2013. The visit earlier this month was shrouded in secrecy.
Boko Haram was founded in Maiduguri in 2002 and remained largely peaceful until a police and military crackdown against its then-leader Mohammed Yusuf and his followers in 2009.
Brutal raids, massacres, suicide s and kidnappings by Boko Haram have claimed at least 13,000 lives and driven an estimated 1.5 million people from their homes, mainly in arid northeast Nigeria.
Nigeria's military has been criticised for failing to crush the rebellion but soldiers complain they lack the arms and ammunition to fight the better-equipped s.
Nigeria's neighbours , Chad and Niger have launched a joint bid to combat the and halt their advance, and officials from Nigeria and those three countries met this week to thrash out details of a new regional force to counter the Islamists.
|Seven Die in Shebab Attacks in Somalia|
|[AnNahar] Six Somali soldiers and one civilian were killed on Friday in an attack by Shabaab on a military checkpoint in Baidoa and in a ing in the capital Mogadishu, officials said.|
A Somali military official, Colonel Mohammed Hassan, said six soldiers died when the Shabaab, al-Qaeda's main African affiliate, carried out a pre-dawn raid against their post near Baidoa, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of Mogadishu.
"The Shabaab fighters attacked three locations including the checkpoint outside Baidoa. Three of their fighters were killed," said Suleyman Abdulahi, another local official.
In another incident, a civilian was killed and two other in a ing blamed on the Shabaab, who are fighting to topple Somalia's internationally-backed government.
"They attached a to the civilian's car. The civilian was killed and two others ," interior ministry Mohammed Yusuf told s.
The attacks came at the end of a week which saw the United States conduct another air strike against the group. The Somali government said the Shabaab's intelligence chief, Abdishakur Tahlil, was killed in Monday night's raid.
The Shabaab's former leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was also killed by a U.S. air strike in September.
|Who is Abubakar Shekau?|
The leader is nicknamed "Darul Tawheed", which translates as a specialist in Tawheed, an orthodox doctrine centring on the uniqueness of Allah. But Nigeria's mainstream Muslim clerics do not regard him as a scholar and question his understanding of Islam.
Shekau does not communicate directly with Boko Haram's foot soldiers and is said to wield his power through a few select cell leaders. Even then contact is minimal.
Last year, the Nigerian government said troops had killed Shekau. However, the leader subsequently appeared in a video he made to prove he was still alive.
|FG Panel Indicts Modu-Sheriff As Boko Haram Sponsor|
|[IREPORTS-NG] Report of an investigative panel of enquiry into the problem of insurgency in North East Nigeria actually indicted former governor of Borno state, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff as one of the sponsors of the sect.|
This revelation was made bare in a statement released by a lawyer, Mr Femi Falana who threatened to drag the government if it fails to implement the report of the panel which recommended the prosecution of Modu Sheriff and others.
In the statement which quoted portions of the federal government report, the rights lawyer faulted Wednesday's press briefing addressed by the ex-governor where he denied any link or knowing any member of the sect. The statement reads:
"Yesterday (Wednesday), a former governor of Borno state, Mr. Modu Sheriff addressed a at Abuja where he attempted to play on the collective intelligence of Nigerians by denying any link with the dreaded Boko Haram sect. He was apparently reacting to his indictment by Rev Stephen Davis, the international negotiator engaged by the federal government to dialogue with the Boko Haram sect to secure the release of the Chibok girls.
"In his Mr. Sheriff claimed that he only met the late Mohammed Yussuf, the leader of the Boko Haram sect after he had been by the army. As the Chief Security Officer in Borno State at the material time the ex-governor should open up on the circumstances of the extra judicial killing of Muhammed Yusuff and his father-in-law, Alhaji Kuba. More importantly, Mr. Sheriff should explain to Nigerians the basis of the appointment of Alhaji Buji Foi, a boko haram leader as the Commissioner of Religions Affairs in Borno State.
He resigned from the Sheriff government and before joining the Boko Haram sect. He too was extra-judicially killed after his arrest by the soldiers.
"Before the revelation of Rev. Davis the Administration had set up the Ambassador Usman Galtimari Panel to investigate the genesis of the insurgency in the North East. The Presidential Panel found inter alia:
The Report traced the origin of private militias in Borno State in particular, of which Boko Haram is an offshoot, to politicians who set them up in the run-up to the 2003 general elections. The militias were allegedly armed and used extensively as political thugs. After the elections and having achieved their primary purpose, the politicians left the militias to their fate since they could not continue funding and keeping them employed. With no visible means of sustenance, some of the militias gravitated towards religious extremism, the type offered by Mohammed Yusuf.
|Nigeria, Allies Call for Help to Stop Boko Haram Funding, Arming|
|[An Nahar] Nigeria and its regional allies on Wednesday called for greater international support to shut down 's weapons and funding supply as concern mounted at the group's rapid recent land grab.|
The call came after conflicting reports that the had seized another town, prompting warnings that Nigeria was losing control of the northeast and violence could spill across borders.
Nigeria's Foreign Minister Aminu Wali said his counterparts from Benin, Chad, and Niger recognized the need for a more joined-up approach to curb arms trafficking and spiraling violence during a day of talks on the security crisis.
"(The meeting) called for greater co-operation of the international community to assist in tracking these sources with a view to putting an end to these practices and all forms of illegal transfer of arms and ammunition," he told s in Abuja.
Boko Haram grew out of a largely peaceful anti-corruption movement led by Islamic preacher Mohammed Yusuf in , turning violent only after his death in police custody in 2009.
But progressively more bloody attacks, including al-Qaeda-style car and s, have led to discussion about the exact nature and extent of their links to the global jihadi network.
The earlier this year designated Boko Haram an al-Qaeda-linked group in a move designed to shut down any overseas funding and support.
Analysts believe the sanctions are largely symbolic, with little or no proven operational links with overseas s, despite Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau praising jihadi leaders.
The group's operations have also largely been confined to Nigeria's northeast, where it is thought to have financed its operations mainly through bank robberies, kidnapping and extortion.
Nigeria's soldiers deployed in the region have complained that the are better armed, with high-powered assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and even armored personnel carriers.
Some arms supplies are thought to come in via smuggling routes from Libya through Sahel countries, but Boko Haram has also regularly seized weapons and hardware from the Nigerian military.
Nigeria's neighbors vowed to play a greater role in tackling the Islamists after the abduction of more than 200 girls from their school in northeast Nigeria in April, which caused global outrage.
International intelligence and surveillance specialists and equipment were sent to Abuja to help trace the missing teenagers, 219 of whom are still being held captive.
But nearly five months on, Western diplomats have indicated that there has been little progress, despite a claim from Nigeria's military that they had located the girls.
Nigeria has repeatedly played up what it says is the regional aspect of the insurgency, blaming and overseas funding for the violence.
But while some foreign mercenaries may be in the guerrilla ranks and there have been attacks beyond Nigeria's borders, some analysts say the conflict remains largely "local".
Any wider military response could internationalize the conflict, they have warned.
Boko Haram has in recent weeks taken and held swathes of territory in northeast Nigeria in a departure from their previous hit-and-run tactics.
On Monday, the reportedly took over the town of Bama, 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, sending hundreds of soldiers fleeing.
The military disputes the claims, but the fighting has raised fears that Boko Haram has the city in its sights and aims to make it the center of a separate, hardline Islamic state.
"We live in fear of a possible Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri because of the speed with which they are taking over towns and villages," said resident Babagana Kolo.
The Nigeria Security Network of analysts said Nigeria's northeast was "on the brink" of coming under Boko Haram control, which could see parts of Cameroon being overrun and spark a humanitarian crisis.
residents, a police officer in the Cameroon town of Amchide and a Nigerian said the took control of the town of Banki in Borno state on Tuesday.
"From the information that I have received from the people in Banki and Amchide, Boko Haram has taken over Banki," Borno senator Ahmed Zannah told BBC radio's Hausa language service.
"More than 200 Nigerian soldiers fled to Amchide from Banki when Boko Haram headed towards the town."