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Thursday, July 7

"ISIS-affiliated militants capture Nigerian military base" and a hideously complicated conflict in Nigeria

"The issue is that some Fulani herdsmen have joined Boko Haram and also some Boko Haram members have stolen cows that belong to Fulani and are now moving with those cows disguising as Fulani," Mustapha tells Al Jazeera.

Mike Ejiofor, a security analyst and former senior official at the Nigerian Department of State Security, says Boko Haram members have infiltrated Fulani communities in an attempt to flee Nigerian soldiers who have advanced on them.

July 7, 2016

In what ISIS dubbed the “Invasion of Nigeria”, ISIS published a video detailing its capture of a military base in the province of Bosso in the west African country of Nigeria. Corpses of several Nigerian military personnel were featured in the video that also portrayed the fleeing of many other Nigerian soldiers from the barrage of mortar shells and heavy machine gun targeting of their positions.

Following its successful attack on the Nigerian military base, ISIS was able to seize cache-loads of ammunition, heavy equipment, advanced artillery cannons, rocket launchers, hundreds of machine guns and automated weapons, military grade vehicles and a functioning MLRS.

As ISIS struggles to maintain control over its territories in Iraq and Syria, it attempts to expand in sub-saharan Africa, central and south-eastern Asia.


See the AMN website for photographs of materiel allegedly captured from the Nigerian base; AMN doesn't feature the video, only one grainy photo perhaps taken from the video that gives no indication of location or that Nigerian troops or corpses are in evidence.

If they have actually taken over a base of course this is a serious development. But as of this time (1 AM EDT) I see nothing posted at Google News/Nigeria about such an attack. I did find an article from Al Jazeera about an ongoing low-grade conflict in Nigeria that Islamic State (and al Qaeda) might well take advantage of -- although there are indications they've already done so. See the article and Long War Journal's archive on Boko Haram.  

I'm going feature just a few quotes that are only an introduction to the article's extensive discussion of the conflict, which has so many aspects that it's a kind of shorthand to describe what is happening in many parts of the world, and which feed into terrorism. Yet the underlying causes of the confict are so complicated that blindfolded I am tempted to side with the Nigerian politician who is obviously a believer in simplification:
"It's nonsense [that global warming is cited as a reason]. It's just Western propaganda by people who don't know what is really happening in Nigeria," says a prominent Fulani politician, who asked to remain anonymous. He says that the rise in criminality among Fulani cattle-herders began in the 1980s, the same time that organised crime - drug trafficking and gang violence - increased across Nigeria.
"Nigeria should be very alarmed. These Fulani boys are armed with dangerous weapons and they know how to use them. I am Fulani, so I know what is happening," he tells Al Jazeera. ...
But there are dissenting views about the causes including this one lol don't laugh Pundita it's not funny:
He is among many Nigerians who believe that this wave of violence by herdsmen is a continuation of the Fulani uprising of 1804.
Nigeria: Deadly nomad-versus-farmer conflict escalates
By Chika Oduah
July 6, 2016
Al Jazeera

Roaming Fulani cattle herdsman accused of launching deadly raids against farming communities and targeting Christians.

Akwanga, Nigeria - On the heels of an insurgency launched seven years ago by the armed group Boko Haram, Nigeria is embroiled in another conflict that has divided people across ethnic and religious lines with thousands killed over the past few years.

The pastoral Fulani people - also called Peul, Fulbe, Fula and  believed to be the world's largest semi-nomadic ethnic group - follow their cows today as they have done for centuries across the West African Sahel, from Senegal to central Africa.
In the past, farmers welcomed the seasonal migration of the Fulani and their cattle. The cows fertilised the farmers' fields with dung and the farmers reserved land for the cows to graze. It was somewhat of a mutual relationship, dented every now and then by conflicts, particularly when the cattle would trample the farmers' crops.
But today, the relationship between Fulani cattle-herders and farmers in Nigeria has taken a deadly turn.
In the past five years, fights over land and water between Fulani herders and farmers across Nigeria have left thousands of people dead. The farmers accuse the herdsmen of instigating the violence because the roaming herdsmen end up in communities where farmers have already settled for decades, even centuries.
"This is our ancestral land and we have been living here. Then these Fulani people come here once or twice a year with their cows and they are killing us," says Ngozi Ugwu.
Pieces of bodies laid in a pile after the April raid. Chopped-off hands and severed feet aroused terror among the people in Nimbo.
"They were slaughtered like bush meat," says John Orajiaka. He saw the assailants as they entered his church compound, shouting and shooting with Kalashnikov assault rifles. He said that he saw tesbih, prayer beads, dangling from their hands.
Every few weeks, more Nigerian communities join the growing list of those attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen: Agatu, Nimbo, Galadima, Obiaruku, Abraka, Tarka, Buruku, Ngodo and Biogbolo.
A new brand of criminals tagged by security analysts as "Fulani militant herdsmen", has emerged to describe people travelling with large flocks of cows and raiding communities.
The 2015 Global Terrorism Index reported that "Fulani militants" are the fourth most deadly terrorist group in the world, responsible for the deaths of 1,229 people in 2014 - up from 63 in 2013.
"They now pose a serious threat to stability," the report says.
In 2010, survivors of an incident that left 500 people dead in the central Nigerian state of Plateau said their attackers shouted at them in Fulani language, according to Human Rights Watch.
This year, suspected herdsmen have killed more people in Nigeria than Boko Haram has, according to statistics from the Council on Foreign Relation's Nigeria Security Tracker. 
In May, exiled Nigerian human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe testified before a Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives to tell American politicians that  "the atrocities perpetrated by Muslim herdsmen of the Fulani tribe" is "a clear and present danger to national peace" for many Nigerians.
Ogebe describes details of a fact-finding mission to the farming community of Agatu in central Nigeria where soldiers were deployed after suspected Fulani herdsmen allegedly killed about 300 Agatu residents in February. Corpses and bloodied pieces of bodies were left at the scene of the violent attack, which happened in a locality too remote for even local journalists to venture.
"The sight was unnerving," Ogebe's claims in his testimony. "The tales of victims could not possibly capture the extent of the devastation. Travelling on end, mile after mile on bumpy dirt roads, there were no humans to be seen in village after burned down village." 
Again, that's just an intro.


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