FaithWorld

Nigerian air force joins bid to contain Islamist sect

nigeria 1Nigeria’s security services are beefing up efforts to contain the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram in the remote north, launching joint army and police exercises and using attack helicopters to help with patrols.

Army Chief of Staff Azubuike Ihejirika, appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan just over a month ago, said on Tuesday he had instructed the security forces to be at the ready after a string of attacks blamed on the  sect. (Photo: Bodies lay on the streets in Maiduguri after uprising by Boko Haram in Nothern Nigeria, July 31, 2009/Aminuo Abubacar)

The group, which wants sharia (Islamic law) more widely applied across Africa’s most populous nation, launched an uprising in the city of Maiduguri last year which led to days of gun battles with the security forces in which hundreds died.

Suspected Boko Haram members burned down a police station in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, last week, and have been blamed for the targeted killings of police officers, politicians and traditional leaders in recent weeks.

The unrest has raised fears of a repeat of last year’s uprising, which began with attacks on police stations, government offices, prisons and schools.

from Africa News blog:

Boko Haram: a sect alone?

****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ****** ******The Boko Haram sect surprised many in Nigeria and elsewhere with the violence of their uprising last week.******Before Boko Haram was suppressed by the security forces at the cost of nearly 800 lives, we learned that the group's name means "Western education is sinful" in the Hausa language used in northern Nigeria.******We also learned that the sect's charismatic leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was, before he was killed while in police detention, opposed to all things Western.******Which prompts two thoughts. The first is that the anti-education message may not have much traction in Nigeria, a country whose inhabitants are determined to get ahead and secure the best education for their children. In many cases that will be either in the West or in Nigerian schools offering a Western-style curriculum.******During the years I spent in the country, staff working for me were always concerned about being able to raise enough money for their children's school uniforms and books.******And the second thought: Yusuf's opposition to the modern world seems to have had its limits. When the violence erupted in Maiduguri, he was seen riding in a Toyota car, dressed in military-style fatigues and accompanied by men carrying Russian-designed assault rifles.