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Friday, July 31, 2009

where did the Boko Haram followers get their arms?

Was it a case of an alleged violent criminal being deliberately executed while in police custody, or was he killed while making a genuine attempt to escape?

These are the questions being asked in Nigeria about the death of 39-year-old Mohammed Yusuf, leader of the Boko Haram sect, who was killed on 30 July.His sect had exchanged fire law enforcement agencies over five days in several parts of Northern Nigeria.

The violence started in Bauchi, where the sect claims its mosque was attacked on 26 July. It then spread to Maiduguri. An estimated 500 people died before the trouble was quelled.

Human Rights Watch officials working in Nigeria have demanded an "immediate investigation into the killing", which they described as "extrajudicial".

"Boko Haram" means "Western education is haram [forbidden under Islamic law]" and the sect is the latest manifestation in Nigeria of a radical version of Islam, reflexes of which have wreaked havoc in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As a result, Boko Haram has been labelled by some people as a "Nigerian Taliban". But very little is known about it.

It does bear a striking resemblance to the Maitatsine sect which caused riots in Kano in December 1980 in which at least 4,000 people died.

Then, the deaths of its leader and so many of his followers – their "martyrdom" – did not eradicate the movement. The activities of Maitatsine movement caused further losses of life in Maiduguri and Kaduna in October 1982 and in Yola in February and March 1984. As the anniversary of Maitatsine's death approaches each December, the authorities become apprehensive and beef up security throughout the areas where remnants of the Maitatsine sect are suspected to exist.

This precedent set by the Maitatsine sect therefore bodes ill for the authorities if they hope that as a result of the death of Mohammed Yusuf that Boko Haram would disappear. Video of him after his arrest, and later of his bullet-ridden body, shown on national television, will be used to propagate his teaching that a reward awaits the faithful after death.

But this sort of belief is disowned by some Muslims. Addressing members of a Nigerian internet discussion forum, one Muslim wrote:

I must say I never knew about these undesirable elements parading themselves under the guise of religion. The religion of Islam never deny (sic) people the right to education. To the contrary, there are verses in the Qur'an urging Muslims to go seek knowledge even in very far places (the country China was used in one instance).

On the issue of the abuse of the human rights of the dead Mohammed Yusuf, another member of the forum wrote:

Hey, all crimes are NOT the same. When someone organises people, arms them to the teeth and start (sic) slaughtering innocent citizens recklessly, in the name of religion, there should be no time to be talking about rule of law.

To which Mohammed Yusuf, had he been alive, would no doubt have retorted, "Didn't I tell you that western education is poison?"

What the authorities will be asking themselves, though, is this: where did the Boko Haram followers get their arms?
  • The army said they had rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.
  • There have been incidents thefts of arms from some Nigerian military garrisons, and the authorities will have to ascertain whether the sect's arms were bought locally or from abroad.
  • In either case, the authorities must find it worrying that arms are so easily procured in the country.

The Rest @ The Guardian

The Following is about Boko Haram. Its leader Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf was killed Yesterday.

Boko Haram ('Boko' = modified Latin alphabet introduced by the French and English colonial authorities at the beginning of the 20th century for the Hausa language, [from English "book"][1][2] or [derivatively] non-islamic [usually western] education[3] and 'Haram' = Arabic for "forbidden") is a Nigerian militant Islamist group that seeks the imposition of Shariah law throughout all 36 states of Nigeria.

The group was founded in 2002 in Maiduguri by Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf. In 2004 it moved to Kanamma, Yobe State, where it set up a base called "Afghanistan", used to attack nearby police outposts, killing police officers.[4] Yusuf is hostile to democracy and the secular education system, vowing that "this war that is yet to start would continue for long".[5]
In Bauchi the group was reported as refusing to mix with local people. The group includes members who come from neighbouring Chad and speak only Arabic.[6][7]
Boko Haram opposes not only Western education, but Western culture and modern science as well.[8] In a 2009 BBC interview, Yusuf stated that the belief that the world is a sphere is contrary to Islam and should be rejected, along with Darwinism and the theory that rain comes from water evaporated by the sun.[9]

-Source Wikipedia

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