Nigerian security service says politicians sponsor Boko Haram Islamists

November 22, 2011

(Shattered remnants are seen at the site of a bomb blast at a bar in the Nigerian northeastern city of Maiduguri July 3, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer)

Nigerian politicians are funding members of a radical Islamist sect responsible for dozens of shootings and bombings this year in the north and capital of Africa’s most populous nation, the state security service (SSS) has said.  Boko Haram, whose name translates as “Western education is forbidden”, has carried out near daily attacks in the remote northeast in Borno state, where Nigeria borders Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Although parts of the sect say they want sharia law more widely applied across Nigeria and threaten international targets, most factions are focused on local issues and carry out politically motivated attacks.

The SSS, Nigeria’s intelligence agency, said in a press briefing on Monday that on Nov. 3 they arrested Ali Sanda Umar Konduga who admitted to being one of the spokesmen for Boko Haram, using the name Usman al-Zawahiri. “He was a former political thug operating under a group widely known as ECOMOG,” said Marilyn Oga, an SSS spokeswoman.

ECOMOG was a militia group funded by politicians several years ago in Borno and some former members have now joined Boko Haram, diplomats and security experts have said. “His arrest further confirms the Service position that some of the Boko Haram extremists have political patronage and sponsorship. This is more so as al-Zawahiri has so far m

Read the full story by Camillus Eboh here. See also Nigeria senator charged with suspected sect member.


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