News / Africa

Ansaru Militants Claim Attack on Nigerian Soldiers

Heather Murdock
An Islamist militant group known as Ansaru is claiming responsibility for killing two Nigerian soldiers and wounding eight others in an attack on a military convoy headed to Mali. Ansaru is a relatively new group and analysts say its goals appear to be international, rather than aimed specifically at Nigeria.

Their Youtube videos are typical of an Islamist militant group. In this one, released in November the group airs its grievances in English, accusing Nigerian security forces of human rights abuses. In another video, heavily armed men with scarves over their faces are seen in front of a banner bearing their name in Arabic, which roughly translates to the "The group of supporters of Muslims in black Africa." They are commonly known as "Ansaru."

Hussaini Abdu, who heads anti-poverty organization ActionAid in Abuja, said Ansaru is different from a better known Nigerian Islamist militant group called Boko Haram, which has been blamed for more than 1,500 deaths since 2010.

“One striking difference between them and the Boko Haram is that they have also increasingly made their politics, their grievances international," he said. "For instance the attack on the Nigerian military, they said they were doing that because Nigeria has decided to join other forces to fight Islam in Mali."

Ansaru claims links to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and responsibility for kidnapping a French national last month, in addition to a prison break in November that won praise from Boko Haram. The group has also been blamed for the 2011 kidnapping and subsequent deaths of a British and an Italian engineer.

Abdu said increasing insecurity in northern Nigeria has made room for new militant groups to form or splinter off Boko Haram, as Ansaru did in early 2012.

“The government has a lot to lose because once the insecurity degenerates, more groups will continue to emerge and they will frustrate the military and ultimately compound the challenge,” he said.

Even before deploying what will be 900 soldiers to fight rebel groups in Mali, the Nigerian military was stretched thin. Nigerian soldiers now serve on peacekeeping missions in several African countries, as well as fighting militants in the north, oil theft and discontent in the south, and increasing piracy off-shore.

A local paper, The Desert Herald, printed Ansaru’s claim on the military attack on Sunday. The group threatened to carry out more attacks on the Nigerian military.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid