Friday, 13 September 2013

How To End Boko Haram's Terror: Jacob Zenn, The Jamestown Foundation | Sahara Reporters

NEW YORK - Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda working together is a far-fetched idea, said Jacob Zenn a West Africa analyst in an interview on Sahara TV Saturday.

“Al-Qaeda is an organization that likes to carry out one major terrorist attack or a few to gain international attention and then use that international attention to spread its ideology,” said Zenn, an analyst at The Jamestown Foundation. “Boko Haram is more of an insurgency with a lot more grass root connections”.

Zenn believes the Nigerian-based militant jihadist group, Boko Haram, is “too violent” for a working partnership with the global terror network Al-Qaeda. His research includes the evolution of the group and Al Qaeda’s growing influence in North and West Africa.

Since Abubakar Shekau resumed as the leader of Boko Haram in 2009, the group has carried out various attacks similar to those executed by the international Islamic fundamentalist group, Al-Qaeda. So much so that many have compared and even suspected that both groups were working in tandem. Zenn, however, argued that this is not the case.

“Al-Qaeda is a foreign import to wherever it goes,” he said. “It tries to throw its own ideology on local issues whereas Boko Haram is (focused) on the local issues. To that extent Al Qaeda hasn't been able to Nigeria-lise itself.”

Boko Haram is notorious for attacking places of worship, schools and killing Muslims and Christians alike in the northeastern state of Borno. In Africa, it is rivaled only by the terror group Al-Shabab, which finds its base of operation in Somalia.

The situation has become so severe that President Goodluck Jonathan in May ordered a state of emergency in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. But the risk of Boko Haram working with Al-Qaeda is low as the latter is more interested in American targets, though Nigerians are beginning to question that as Al-Qaeda has facilitated attacks in the country through a small affiliate group called Ansaru.

While Boko Haram’s attacks may suggest collaboration with Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram hasn’t gotten the recognition other smaller terror groups affiliated with the international militant organization have gotten in the past.

“Most groups that actually become Al-Qaeda formally make an announcement with them saying we are now Al-Qaeda in North Africa [or in any other part of the world] Al-Qaeda senior leadership has never recognized Boko Haram as it.”

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