Boko Haram may attack West: Nigerian minister

The Boko Haram militant group, which has killed thousands in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad since 2009, may be plotting attacks on the West, including Britain, a Nigerian minister said.

IANS| Last Updated: Mar 07, 2015, 23:41 PM IST

London: The Boko Haram militant group, which has killed thousands in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad since 2009, may be plotting attacks on the West, including Britain, a Nigerian minister said.

According to a report in The Independent on Friday, Osita Chidoka, a close associate of President Goodluck Jonathan, said that the Islamist group might compete with its global jihadi counterparts to commit atrocities abroad.

He accused the international community of failing to give Nigeria the support it needed to combat the extremists, who were increasingly emulating the Islamic State (IS) and Al Shabaab in their terror tactics.

Instead, Chidoka said in an interview to The Independent, "unfair" concerns were being expressed by the West about the Nigerian government as it attempted to tackle the Boko Haram.

The militants` offensive is reported to include beheadings, as shown in gruesome videos, which was an example of the Boko Haram increasingly embracing "ISIS (IS) methods".

"There are conditions, constraints being laid by the international community over this mission, which are unfair on Nigeria," Chidoka said.

"If we do not tackle Boko Haram then the whole region is in danger," he said, adding that the Boko Haram "will try to copy groups like ISIS (IS) and Al Shabaab".

"It can target the West like these groups do, target Europe, Britain -- it would want to be like these other groups," he said.

"The danger is that they can go beyond the region and become international."

The minister stressed that an augmented African Union (AU) force in northeastern Nigeria, renewed operations by the Nigerian military and civic measures by the government would lead to the Boko Haram being controlled.

Since Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram`s leader, mimicked the IS by announcing his own caliphate six months ago -- declaring that the new fiefdom no longer "has anything to do with Nigeria" -- the group has launched incursions into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. However, international attention has focused mostly on operations against the IS in Syria and Iraq.

There are fears that some Muslims among the large Nigerian diaspora in western Europe and North America are at the risk of being indoctrinated.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to blow up a plane en route from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009, with explosives hidden in his underwear, was raised in Funtua in northern Nigeria.

Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group, whose name in the local dialect translates into "Western education is sin", seeks to impose the Islamic Sharia law in the constitution of Nigeria, Africa`s most populous country.