Security Implications of Boko Haram Bombing of Kano Central Mosque
By Attorney Patryk Utulu
On Friday, November 28, 2014, Nigeria’s grand Kano Central Mosque was bombed. The initial official assessment is that at least two suicide bombers were involved. Immediately afterward the suicide bombers’ back-up death squad of at least three men opened gunfire on both Muslim faithfuls who were peacefully worshiping inside the mosque and some initial survivors who reflexively tried to flee from the bomb blast. The death toll is assessed to be over 120 dead with over 500 injured. The bombing was carefully targeted for maximum impact for mass casualty. The injuries have been so severe that many of the survivors are expected to die in the following weeks, and some of those who ultimately survive, will never regain the full use of their limbs and lives. These are Nigerians, our fellow citizens, with families. If their lives have no value, neither does mine nor yours!!!
Nigerians habitually disagree on just about anything but there is a near total agreement that Northeast Nigerian Jihadist group, Boko Haram, carried out the attack. Nigerians also agree that Boko Haram has rapidly transformed from its origins as a bunch of illiterate youths unleashed as part of publicly recorded threats to make Nigeria ungovernable for grievances arising from the 2011 Nigerian national election, to an effective para-military insurgency
But while they recognize that Boko Haram has transformed from the thugs of post-election angst for proxy destabilization of Nigeria to a West African Jihadist commercial crime syndicate, Nigerians are still in denial about what Boko Haram wants. That is, Nigerians have regional/cultural/religion-based resistance to recognizing and accepting that Boko Haram is now a principal member of global Jihadist alliance ALL OF WHOM HAVE DULY PLEDGED ALLEGIANCE to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled ‘Caliph’ of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS (a.k.a., ISIL or Islamic State).
In their quest for truth and tacit deniability Nigerians are looking for a complex web of conspiracy to explain why our corrupt but culture-of-life nation has suddenly became a new Middle East. The bombing of Kano Central Mosque has a simpler but no less deadly significance than the religious, partisan and tribal diagnoses Nigerians will instinctively arrive at. Those prejudiced against or in fear of Islamic doctrine (Islamophobia) will quickly interpret this bomb blast as one more example of senseless Islamic violence. Some partisan Nigerians will quickly blame it on mysterious agents of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) bent on creating conditions for a State of Emergency in Northern Nigeria in other to avoid holding the 2015 general elections, thus prolonging PDP rule. Other partisan Nigerians will equally blame the blast on agents of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) bent on disrupting an election it is certain to lose, thus enabling APC to form a parallel government and, per chance, encourage a military coup. Already some conspiracy-fantasists are claiming that the bomb blast is part of ongoing conspiracy of genocide against Nigerians of Northern origins. And don’t forget the vast majority of Nigerians who live South of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, some of whom will self-righteously conclude that bombings rarely happen unless indigenes and natives ignored or supported the fanatics.
Welcome to Nigeria!!! One on one, Nigerians can be resourceful, pragmatic and open minded. But in group settings Nigerians tend to be irredeemable tribalists, dedicated partisans and fanatical religionists who would rather blame the Devil, blame the-other-tribe or blame the Western World for made-in-Nigeria problems than acknowledge tribal misdeed or accept religious fallibility. Instead of candid self-evaluation, diagnoses and painful corrective measures Nigerians are likely to evaluate this bomb blast through denials and deliberate distractions: there will be claims of aggravated aggregate victimhood, some smug feeling of regional security, patently partisan mischief, and the usual conspiracy theories. Because Nigerians have refused to properly diagnosis Boko Haram as the initial political tool of those who couldn’t abide the mild embarrassment of electoral loss finding proper solution has been next to impossible. To worsen matters, it is those who unleashed the plague of Boko Haram on Nigeria that are often loudest in pre-preemptively accusing other Nigerians of incubating and nurturing Boko Haram.
Here is the easy pathway to the mystery. Jihadists bombed the mosque to send a message to ALL CORNERS of Nigeria about global Jihadists’ strategic goals.
WHAT MESSAGE? That while millions of Southern Nigerians and Northern Nigerians continue to argue over transparently stupid points such as whether Christianity is better than Islam or which religion had more converts last year, Jihadists are steadily expanding their terror zones of influence. Humans love to join winning teams and as things stand millions of Nigerian Youths believe that Jihadists are wining. So, let’s not pretend to be surprised about Boko Haram’s recruitment tactic or why Boko Haram is still successful despite manifest cruelty.
Boko Haram is now a bona fide branch and recognized Nigerian representatives of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL). ISIS does NOT recognize the national boundaries in the Middle East and does NOT recognize the legitimacy of any Muslim ruler. ISIS doesn’t even recognize the legitimacy of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia. In fact ISIS has repeatedly sworn to sack the Saudi Royal family. In 2014, Boko Haram has now killed over 2,000 Nigerians (city dwellers, villagers, students, workers, Christians, Muslims, etc.) with seemingly indiscriminate methodologies (suicide bombings, guerrilla-style attacks, improvised explosive devices, beheadings, etc.). But don’t be fooled by the false impressions that Boko Haram deliberately creates. There is a method to the seeming madness of Boko Haram. In fact, the madness is THE method. Boko Haram is using the tactic of its parent body, ISIS
Boko Haram is slaughtering and beheading people ISIS-style because it is the Nigerian representatives of ISIS-led global Jihadists. The total conquest of ALL of Nigeria is the goal. They are slaughtering Nigerian Muslims and Christians alike because in the ISIS-like judgment of Boko Haram the traditional Islam that is practiced in Nigeria – is “haram.” In Boko Haram’s judgment the majority of Nigerian Muslims deserve death because Nigeria’s traditional Islamic practices do not measure up to the 5th Century Islamic “purity” standards that recognize only one “Caliph” and no Emirs, Sheikhs and Sultans. ISIS does not recognize international boundaries created by Western Colonial powers or Middle East kings/kingdoms, emirs/emirates created or endorsed by the Western powers. Similarly, Boko Haram no longer recognizes the boundaries of the thirty-six (36) states of Nigeria nor does it recognize any Obis, Obas, Emirs or Sultan created or endorsed by the British colonial authorities in Nigeria. It does not matter to Boko Haram that Kano Central Mosque is attached to the Palace of the Emir of Kano because Boko Haram does NOT recognize the Emir’s legitimacy.
To Boko Haram the only legitimate ruler in Nigeria is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled “Caliph” of the so-called Islamic State/ISIS, who is somewhere in Iraq or Syria hiding from U.S. bombs and Hellfire drones. To Boko Haram every inch of Nigeria is occupied territory that must be liberated from Nigerian Muslims (because they have not pledged allegiance to ISIS Caliph) and from Nigerian Christian infidels (unless they convert and pledge allegiance). Any Nigerian who chose to keep seeing Boko Haram as a “Northern problem” is deliberately living in fool’s paradise. It was pure luck that Emir Muhammad Sanusi II was in Saudi Arabia when the mosque was bombed. Despite Emir Sanusi II recently urging civilians to take up arms against Boko Haram he was NOT the bomb’s target. Many Nigerians knew that Emir Sanusi was travelling and so did Boko Haram. Kano Central Mosque was bombed because of Boko Haram’s contempt and deep hatred for Nigerian Muslims that Boko Haram regard as bad Muslims for living side by side with Christians; it was bombed because Boko Haram sees Nigerian Muslims as unable or unwilling to impose Sharia law on all of Nigeria and because Nigerian Muslims women still have a choice as to what to wear in public.
To Boko Haram these are unforgivable sins on the part of Nigerian Muslims and that is what will happen to Nigerians if and when Boko Haram conquers Nigeria. It won’t happen? Yes, OK, how many guns do you have in your house to take care of your family? My job is to make you think about your family. What you do is up to you. All Nigerian Muslims must accept Emir Sanusi’s command to take up arms and fight terrorism. Those Nigerians who love to blame Muslims for every terrorist acts must never forget that Boko Haram hates Nigerian Muslims as much as they hate Christians. I have only one message for any Christian who won’t help in the fight against Boko Haram: Just like Adamawa, Abuja-FCT, Makurdi, Ibadan, Lagos, Aba and Port Harcourt are NOT far enough. They will come for you soon!!! The Jihadists will definitely come for your children and they will NOT wait to finish the conquest of Borno before they come for you.
Due to the death of Shekau and because of Boko Haram’s failure to revive the propaganda legend of Shekau, field victories followed by wanton slaughter, and extreme cruelty and high-profile bombing of schools, football events, and now, Kano Central Mosque have become tactical demonstration of global Jihadists’ ascendancy in Nigeria. It highlights their successful infiltration of Nigeria’s city, national and community-based security apparatuses and showcase the casual impunity with which the Jihadists are slaughtering their way to their strategic goals.
GOALS? Boko Haram has two mutually-reinforcing goals: (1) randomize and reinforce general insecurity and destabilization through gun attacks, bombings, beheadings, kidnappings, etc., to prove cover for Jihadists to engage in criminal mercantile enterprises without interference from the police; and (2) then exploit the national insecurity, tribal suspicions, meaningless religious arguments and profits from the criminal enterprises to finance the total takeover of Nigeria from Borno to Sokoto, Taraba to Kogi, and Lagos to Bayelsa.
For now, only 3 things stand in the way of Boko Haram conquest of Nigeria:
(1): Boko Haram’s cruel and unusual brutality against Nigerian Muslims in the North. While victories have attracted thousands of naive young Muslims to join them, Boko Haram’s cruelty and kidnapping of wives and daughters have also alienated older Muslim villagers what are now counter-attacking the Jihadists.
(2): Deep-rooted Christianity in Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria. There are serious disagreements among Boko Haram’s three main factions about the wisdom or feasibility of attacking “Christianity Corridors” before mid-2015.
(3): Boko Haram’s inability, so far, to train Jihadists who can blend into the South without attracting negative attention for the duration of time it takes to prepare and carry out massive, randomized and sustained attacks.
But none of these three “defenses” is insurmountable!
It’s only a matter of time before Boko Haram gets a disciplined strategist!!
Attorney Patryk A. Utulu
U.S.-based Attorney & Strategic Communications Specialist
Global Defense Analyst and Global Events Commentator
Executive Vice President, Nigerian Diaspora-North America
Executive Director, The Center 4 Community Empowerment & Lifeskills, Inc
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