Boko Haram threat looms in Sahel, Maghreb

It is a “disgrace” for Nigeria that its neighbors have been more successful in battle against its Boko Haram insurgency than its own army, opposition presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari (pictured) said in an interview a week before the election. Troops from neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon, all much smaller and poorer than Nigeria, have been battling the Islamist militants who have seized territory in northeastern Nigeria in a five-year insurgency. See story from Reuters.

As Maghreb and Sahel countries face deteriorating security due to the situation in Libya, another danger is looming: the militant Islamist movement Boko Haram.

Although relatively distant geographically from North Africa, Boko Haram has links to the terrorist groups that threaten the security of Maghreb and Sahel countries more directly. Those countries need more vigilance in anticipation of the risks Boko Haram poses.

The group has begun slipping across the borders of Nigeria and is a threat to Niger and Chad, and perhaps eventually Mali, Mauritania and Algeria.

Cameroon has already been attacked. Niger is set to send troops to Nigeria after Boko Haram slaughtered scores of people in Fotokol, a key border town in Cameroon on Wednesday (February 4th), AFP reported.

The brutal onslaught came a day after Chadian troops captured the Nigerian town of Gamboru, also located near the border with Cameroon. Chad’s army said it killed more than 200 Boko Haram fighters.

Just days earlier, African Union leaders agreed to send a 7,500-member regional force to fight the group…

And there’s more: Nigeria Postponing Feb. 14 Vote Amid Boko Haram Violence

Nigeria’s Boko Haram has up to 6,000 hardcore militants: U.S. officials

I wonder how much the collapse of authority in Libya — full of arms and weaponry — contributed to the sudden success of Boko Haram. They have been around for a while, but they situation is now getting out of control. Who is financing them?