Boko Haram has managed to grow stronger, despite more intense government efforts to destroy them. Using the Internet to communicate with the public, as well as using untraceable (so far) phone calls and email with media and officials inside Nigeria, the Islamic radicals group has made the government look inept and incompetent. The government is seeking help from the United States, which is apparently on the way. This will apparently be technical and intelligence assistance.
Boko Haram has been successful with its terror campaign in the Moslem north, where most residents are now afraid to inform on the Islamic terrorists. This is the result of years of threats and occasional violence against civilians inclined to inform on the terrorists. Boko Haram is also trying to intimidate the army and police into inaction by attacking commanders. That is having less success because so many of the security personnel are Christians from the south.
Anti-corruption officials are putting the heat on Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Peter Godsday Orubebe. The main accusation is that he has become very wealthy in the four years since he entered government service. Orubebe is close to president Johnson and seemingly unconcerned with this investigation. How this all works out will say a lot about just how much success the anti-corruption effort is capable of.
Boko Haram splinter group Ansaru (for Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan or "Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa") has become more active recently after first declaring its existence last January (and then largely disappearing from view). Ansaru objects to the many Moslems who are being killed by Boko Haram attacks and wants to concentrate on attacks that only kill foreigners or non-Moslem Nigerians. It is unclear how large Ansaru is and how much violence within Boko Haram, if any, will result from the split. It is believed that there is considerable strife between Boko Haram leaders, with many strong-willed men, each with an armed following, trying to control the entire movement. At the moment, Boko Haram is on a roll and most of these disagreements are put aside. But with the appearance of Ansaru, that appeared to be changing. Ansaru appears to be very small, perhaps only a hundred or so members, and more interested (than Boko Haram) in working closely with Islamic terror groups operating in the new terrorist sanctuary of northern Mali. This may encourage other extremist factions in Boko Haram to split off and create even more radical and violent groups like Ansaru.
December 23, 2012: Boko Haram increased its pressure on cell phone companies in the north (Kano) by carrying out two suicide car bomb attacks on the headquarters of two cell phone companies (Indian owned Airtel and South African owned MTN). These two attacks failed. The Islamic terror group accuses the cell phone companies of cooperating with the government in tracking down Boko Haram members. The government has since assigned security personnel to guard all cell phone company facilities, but this has not stopped attacks because there are not enough guards to go around and Boko Haram can still mass larger numbers of attackers. There are, however, enough guards to protect the headquarters of the cell phone companies and that’s why today’s attacks failed. These attacks have made Boko Haram even more unpopular because Nigerians are quite fond of their cell phones and have come to depend on them. The cell phone system attacks may have had something to do with the sudden increase in citizen tips the police have received about where Boko Haram hideouts are.
December 19, 2012: A French citizen (engineer Francis Colump) working on an energy project near the Niger border (Katsina state) was kidnapped by 30 armed men who attacked his compound, killing a guard and local civilian in the process. Later, Boko Haram splinter group Ansaru took responsibility for this and said it was all about France backing an invasion of northern Mali to shut down a sanctuary for Islamic terrorists there. Ansaru is expected to eventually ask for a ransom, as has been the case with eight other French citizens held captive by Islamic radical kidnappers in Africa.
December 17, 2012: Four more foreigners (South Korean) and two Nigerians with them were kidnapped in the southern Niger Delta oil region. This was apparently done to try and obtain a large ransom.
December 15, 2012: Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (from Borno state in the north) is on trial for passing classified information to Boko Haram leaders. Ndume says he was only communicating with Boko Haram officials as part of his official duties to investigate the Islamic radical group. The government contends that Ndume was in a traitorous relationship.
December 14, 2012: In the north (Kano) Boko Haram gunmen killed a member of the state legislature.