Whenever there’s a discussion on why the Boko Haram’s violent campaign persisted beyond the year 2009 when its leader, Muhammad Yusuf, was killed, there are many who are ready to find a ready-made scapegoat in late Mallam Umaru Musa Yar’adua, the Nigeria’s president who approved the military action to crush the rebellion.
The major argument of this school of thought was that, Boko Haram was a mere group of Muslims, whose fundamental disagreement was with the fellow Muslims on the legitimacy of Western education.
And perhaps because there was a concentration on debate on that particular aspect and not the main objective of the group–waging an armed jihad to establish a Khaliphate– there are many who have never gone beyond that superficiality.
To start with, Boko Haram is a takfiri organization, which doesn’t even agree other Muslims are not infidels simply because they accept to be led by the dictates of constitution of the federal government, or something as mundane as accepting scientific positions on water cycle.
Likewise, Yusuf who was extrajudicial killed by the police was never the gentle-as-dove pacifist that the holders of the argument, late Yar’Adua mismanaged the conflict, always present.
Truth is that, Yusuf and his group had a clear goal from the onset. It was to lead their “takfiri jihad” against all of us.
Indeed there were suggestions by some scholars who extensively wrote on the group that even when Kananma camp was established by late Muhammad Ali, the only point of departure with Yusuf was on the timing to start the armed rebellion. Yusuf was said to be on the side of long-term strategy, building strength gradually and calling more people to Jihad. Yusuf had never hidden his perspective on Jihad verses in the Holy Quaran and the context he wanted them applied.
Andrea Bragaglia in his riposte to Abdullahi Lamido’s review of Alexander Thurston’s book, Boko Haram: The History of a West African Jihadist Movement, confirms this.
“Now let us move to my actual conjectures. The first conjecture I had advanced concerned the Kanamma camp issue. At the time when I was writing, this camp was considered, in most of the literature, as having hosted a puritanical but pacific Salafi commune, which had migrated from the Indimi mosque and inexplicably turned violent in late 2003 leading to brief clashes with the Nigerian military.”
It’s therefore worth noting that late UMYA was not in power in 2003. Those in Kano have not forgotten what happened at Panshekara in 2007 before, under President Obasanjo administration.
Still on Kananma, Bragaglia while trying to establish the group’s early contact with international jihadi community observed that:
“Today, at least two internal sources (a Boko Haram member interviewed by the International Crisis Group, and an article published by the Al-Qaeda official magazine)9 suggest that the leader of Kanamma, Muhammad Ali, had allegedly received a promise of funding from Osama Bin Laden in order to start a branch of his organisation in Nigeria.
“The money never arrived at its destination and so the training in the camp never started. This can possibly explain why the Kanamma youth, impatient and frustrated, decided to act. The decision led to disagreements with Yusuf himself, who in contrast, advised patience and a long-term strategy. Yet, the fact that the Kanamma experiment was meant at hosting an Al-Qaeda camp, is a widely accepted hypothesis today; therefore, my first conjecture stands stronger now than four years ago, when it was formulated”.
The current Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau recently cleared a big doubt on the puzzle of who actually assassinated late Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud. The entire Izala community in Nigeria are now convinced who the killers are. Why would a so-called “da’awa” group led by a pacific leader commit a heinous crime like that?
Again, Lamido in his review touches on why late Jaafar took on Boko Haram, while trying to absolve the late cleric from being part of the group from the onset.
“The truth is that Ja’far was concerned about the predictable destructive consequences of Yusuf’s call, just as he was worried about how the movement was drawing the Muslim community backwards and also tilting towards radicalization and violence. He was known to motivate the youth to pursue education and to specialize in various fields, especially medicine, engineering, law and other sciences”.
So from the foregoing, can we still deny the fact that, right from the inception, Boko Haram set out to establish a khalphate through armed struggle? There’s a consensus that even when they agreed to subsist under ‘kufur’ leadership of democracy, the plan was to build their strength and wait for the right time to raise against the state, as they were not going to ask for it nicely (apology to the writers of Games of Throne).
This is more evident as when Yusuf felt that they were strong enough to retaliate the provoking attack of security forces deliberately aimed at luring the group to bring out the arms it was amassing after Yusuf ordered followers to sell off their assets and contribute to fund for arms purchase.
The decisive action ordered by late UMYA was therefore in order. Boko Haram’s violence was inevitable right from the beginning, that’s why Yusuf failed to learn any lesson from Kananma fiasco.
Yet after crushing Boko Haram rebellion in 2009, the state obviously went to sleep. And as if that’s not enough slackness in itself, President Jonathan Goodluck administration made a strategic blunder of not supporting the South Africans against the West’s action against Muammar Ghaddafi leading to dismantling of Libya.
There’s a strong feeling that Boko Haram’s regrouping was aided by the influx of arms looted from Ghaddafi’s armories in Libya.
In any case, Nigeria and other West African countries are still bearing the brunt of Libya’s political crisis and the thoughtless by the West. And by the time we realised it, the “corona virus” from Tripoli was fast spreading and wreaking unprecedented havoc everywhere in the region.