• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Al-Qaeda’s Expansion into Nigeria

    Al-Qaeda’s strength in Africa is expanding.  Cells in northern Africa are spreading southwards to Nigeria, eager to recruit impressionable Muslims to join their international terror network.  In the wake of January’s violent clash between Christians and Muslims in the diverse city of Jos, al-Qaeda’s immediate reaction was to equip and train young Muslims for jihad. According to the Washington Post, Abdelmalek Droukdel, leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) announced that al-Qaeda is prepared to provide training, manpower, munitions, and various other resources to push Nigeria’s young men into jihad.

    Considering the high levels of poverty and limited governance throughout the country, many Nigerians are left susceptible to extremist activity.  While roughly 40 percent of Nigeria’s 149 million citizens are Christian and 50 percent are Muslim, the two religions are geographically divided with the Muslims residing in the northern part of the country and the Christians in the south. The violence last January killing 326 people has left the Muslim population vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.  Nigeria’s government has done very little to curb this threat.  Its own president Umaru Yar’adua has been out of the country, seeking medical care in Saudi Arabia and unable to run the country. In a town hall meeting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, decried the Nigerian government as failing to respond to the legitimate needs of its youth.  She acknowledged that young people are finding other options and are often recruited by terrorist organizations as the Christmas Day bomber was.

    Terrorist organizations in Africa, such as Al-Shabab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria, aspire foremost to local or national influence rather than international terrorism.  While they generally harbor extremist sentiments towards the Western world, they lack the resources and the network needed to conduct operations against Europe or the United States.   Al-Qaeda, on the other hand has waged attacks on American soil and possesses the capabilities to attack again.  Therefore, when al-Qaeda provides smaller terrorist groups with sophisticated support to young men who would otherwise yield machetes and small arms, these terrorist groups immediately become a direct threat to national security.  In dealing with Nigeria, the U.S. needs to tackle the al-Qaeda challenge intelligently.  It must be careful not to radicalize a comparatively moderate Muslim population with heavy-handed treatment and public shaming, yet it needs keep steady pressure on a confused and distracted regime to cooperate in isolating and neutralizing the penetration of al-Qaeda into Nigeria and Western Africa.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Al-Qaeda’s Expansion into Nigeria

    1. Pingback: Nigeria and Al-Qaeda |

    2. galku says:

      This is total bullshit

    3. Usman Saad says:

      Nigerian muslims where slautherd masacardly by the jos kuffar more than 150 in the well .how will al-qaida help in the situation since the goverment did not help in the case

    4. Nnana Obi says:

      Nigeria was not supposed to be a country in the first place.The British Colonialists had originally partitioned Nigeria into Chritian East,muslim North and juju/pagan West.The Eastern and Western Nigerians are liguistically and culturally related.They are Kwa speaking people of Niger-Benue-Congo Africans.While the Hausa-Fulanis are Nilotics,who had conquered the indigenous Kwa speaking people of Northern Nigeria,namely ;the Bauchis,Edomas,Igalas,Kanuiri ,Yorubas and others.The North and South are two incompatible entities.If Chief Obafemi Awolowo,the President Nigeria never had, because of the Igbos and his kinsman,Olusegun Obasanjo,were to be alife today,he could have called for a devolution,partioning Nigeria into Nilotic north and Kwa south.The north is in control and the south is devoid of leadership.We southerners and our Kwa cousins of the north are victims of this Hausa-Fulani dominated system called Nigeria.Nigeria as a nation is a pipe dream.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.