On January 20th the terrorist group Boko Haram carried out a deadly series of bombing attacks in the Nigerian city of Kano, killing over 200 people. To date, although very violent, Boko Haram has been a terrorist group that operates mainly in its local area and is unsophisticated in its attack abilities.
In light of the January 20th attacks Scott Stewart, in the latest Stratfor article, revisits the group to see if they are becoming more of a transnational terror group by extending their reach out of their traditional area of operations, as well as to analyze any advancements they've made to their bomb-making and planning skills.
For the article's Hot Stratfor Babe I once again turned to Nollywood, Nigeria's film industry, for an actress deserving the profound honor. After a long and intensive search I selected Genevieve Nnaji, who CNN apparently once called the Julia Roberts of Africa.
Ms Nnaji was raised in a middle class family in Lagos. At age 8 she had a role in a Nigerian soap opera, but didn't begin acting in earnest until the age of 19. As with most Nigerian thespians, she's been in about a bajillion movies. Nollywood must crank out movies at a dizzying pace. If you go to YouTube and watch any Nigerian films (and a lot are available in their entirety) you'll know how they can make so movies a year -- the words words slip-shod, hurried and low-budget spring to mind.
Regardless, Genevieve won the Best Actress award in the 2005 African Academy Awards.
She's also recently taken up singing and has had a long modeling career, including being the "The Face of MUD", which strikes me as a rather unfortunate name for a line of cosmetics.
Below is the start of the Stratfor article, you can read the rest of it by following the link at the end of the excerpt.
Nigeria's Boko Haram Militants Remain a Regional Threat
By Scott Stewart, January 26,2012
The Nigerian militant group Boko Haram conducted a series of bombing attacks and armed assaults Jan. 20 in the northern city of Kano, the capital of Kano state and second-largest city in Nigeria. The attacks, which reportedly included the employment of at least two suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), targeted a series of police facilities in Kano. These included the regional police headquarters, which directs police operations in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states, as well as the State Security Service office and the Nigerian Immigration Service office. At least 211 people died in the Kano attacks, according to media reports.
The group carried out a second wave of attacks in Bauchi state on Jan. 22, bombing two unoccupied churches in the Bauchi metropolitan area and attacking a police station in the Tafawa Balewa local government area. Militants reportedly also tried to rob a bank in Tafawa Balewa the same day. Though security forces thwarted the robbery attempt, 10 people reportedly died in the clash, including two soldiers and a deputy police superintendent.
In a third attack, Boko Haram militants attacked a police sub-station in Kano on Jan. 24 with small arms and improvised hand grenades. A tally of causalities in the assault, which reportedly lasted some 25 minutes, was not available. This armed assault stands out tactically from the Jan. 20 suicide attacks against police stations in Kano. The operation could have been an attempt to liberate some of the Boko Haram militants the government arrested following the Jan. 20 and Jan. 22 attacks.
Stratfor has followed Boko Haram carefully to assess its intent -- and ability -- to become more transnational. As we noted after the U.S. State Department issued warnings in early November 2011 about Boko Haram's alleged plans to strike Western-owned hotels in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, the group made significant leaps in its operational capability during 2011. During that time, it transitioned from very simple attacks to successfully employing suicide VBIEDS. An examination of the recent attacks in Kano and Bauchi states, however, does not reveal further advances in the group's operational tradecraft and does not display any new ability or intent to project power beyond its traditional areas of operation.
Boko Haram's Tactical Evolution
Boko Haram, Hausa for "Western Education is Sinful," is an Islamist militant group established in 2002 in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state. It has since spread to several other northern and central Nigerian states. It is officially known as "Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad," Arabic for "Group Committed to Propagating the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad."
At first, Boko Haram was involved mostly in fomenting sectarian violence. Its adherents participated in simple attacks on Christians using clubs, machetes and small arms. Boko Haram came to international attention following serious outbreaks of inter-communal violence in 2008 and 2009 that resulted in thousands of deaths.
By late 2010, Boko Haram had added Molotov cocktails and simple improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to its tactical repertoire. This tactical advancement was reflected in the series of small IEDs deployed against Christian targets in Jos, Plateau state, on Christmas Eve 2010.
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