Monday, December 13, 2010

Nigeria: Wikileaks - U.S. Had Intelligence on Boko Haram Attack






Tokunbo Adedoja
12 December 2010

New York — One of the United States diplomatic cables released by internet whistle-blower, WikiLeaks, has revealed that US had intelligence on last year's attack by the Boko Haram sect in some parts of North-east Nigeria before the attack was launched.
The cable dated June 29, 2009, which originated from the Secretary of State, with reference no 09STATE67105 and classified secret/noforn, was tagged, "Nigeria-Extremists believed to be planning a massive terrorist attack".

 The cable, which described leader of the sect, Muhammed Yusuf, as "Nigerian Taliban", said the group was operating with unspecified extremist groups to launch a massive surprise attack on some piece of critical infrastructure, government officials, security agents, and members of the public who are opposed to its doctrines.

The cable also expressed US concerns about recent activities surrounding extremists associated with the "Nigerian Taliban."

Yusuf was reportedly killed in police custody on July 30, 2009, hours after he was captured by security agencies. his group, which has a doctrine that forbids western education, launched massive attacks on Borno and Bauchi states last year.

In the US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, it was also revealed that well-trained veteran Chadian extremist, Abu-Mahjin, who has limited ties to al-Qa'ida associates, also visited Nigeria to facilitate the operation and was seeking more funds for that purpose.

What was however not stated in the cable was whether the intelligence was shared with the Nigerian security agencies or was just meant to warn the US mission and American citizens in Nigeria of an impending attack that may affect American interest.

Text of the cable reads

"26. (S//NF) Nigeria - Extremists believed to be planning a massive terrorist attack: (S//REL TO USA, FVEY) Tearline states, Unspecified extremist groups, suspected to be operating in concert with Nigerian Shi'ites, Salafiya, or Muhammad Yusuf's Nigerian Taliban are reportedly planning to launch a massive surprise attack on some piece of critical infrastructure or against high-profile targets within Nigeria. Probable targets of this attack include top Nigerian Government officials or security agents. Members of the general public, who might be opposed to the attackers' doctrines, were also believed to be possible targets. This planned attack is reportedly aimed at sparking sectarian clashes across Nigeria.

"27. (S//NF) DS/TIA/ITA cannot immediately corroborate the current threat with additional intelligence. While no connection can be made between this threat and previous reports, DS/TIA/ITA is concerned about recent activity surrounding extremists associated with the Nigerian Taliban.

"28. (S//NF) A well-trained veteran Chadian extremist, Abu-Mahjin (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) number 24350378), who has limited ties to al-Qa'ida associates, recently travelled to Nigeria. He may be planning to conduct or facilitate a terrorist operation."
According to the text from May 1, "An Islamic extremist named Abu-Muhjin has recently been in northeast Nigeria. It is likely that he will be joined by other Islamic extremists in the coming weeks."
More recent tearline stated, "Nigerian-based probable Chadian extremist Abu-Mahjin is keen to obtain more funds in connection with some sort of nefarious activity (possibly terrorism related) he is engaged in. However, it is not clear when he will receive this additional finance." Little more is known about Abu-Mahjin's apparent efforts to organize a near-term operation.

"29. (S//NF) Though neither the Nigerian Taliban nor its more militant subset -- Tanzim al-Qa'ida group -- has ever attacked Western interests, they have discussed targeting foreign embassies in the past. In 2007, they reportedly plotted to attack the U.S., British, and Israeli embassies in Abuja, according to a single source that remains unsubstantiated. (Appendix sources 17-19)".  View the original article here

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