Although there have been growing fears, insinuations and even propaganda relating to the existence of new terrorist groups operating side by side with the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria, there is no substantive intelligence as yet to validate the claim. However, various strains and shades of Boko Haram have been observed, especially in northeastern region of Nigeria, which is perceived as the terror group’s stronghold.
This crop of terror-inclined individuals may kill, rape, raze houses, kidnap innocent children, set houses of perceived enemies ablaze and more under the guise of Boko Haram. But how far will some criminals go to convince the public that they are the notorious insurgents? To state it plainly, some gang of frustrated bandits are reportedly wearing the mantle of Boko Haram in order to kill, maim, destroy, cause panic, fear and confusion just to distract the Nigerian military.
Who are these new emerging terrorists groups in Nigeria?
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Dr. Isaac Armstrong, a security programme officer for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said there are instances where some jobless and disgruntled persons who may have imbibed extremist ideologies. Taking a cue from the Boko Haram onslaught, they decide to willfully unleash terror on innocent citizens and claim that they are members of the infamous terrorist group. Such attacks may not have anything to do with Boko Haram in the first place. “These people that routinely organize pockets of attacks here and there on soft target just to create more fear amongst the people and confusion for the security operatives”, he added.
Speaking in a similar vein, Nurudeen Lemu of the Islamic Education Trust said there are no known new terrorist groups in Nigeria. There are, however, sympathizers and apologists of Boko Haram who may share some of their extremist views. According to Lemu, the violent extremism Boko Haram has become globally known for has a deep ideological root, which they are strictly adhering to and preaching to their converts:
“We are aware of this trend and that is why our organization recently organized a workshop for the youths and the theme was, ‘Preventing the Next Boko Haram.’ Our aim is to provide a platform to discuss on how to effectively engage and shape the thinking of our up and coming young men and women. We also wanted to offer counter-narratives on religious beliefs, especially radically-inclined doctrines in the public domain,” he further explained.
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