Nigerian forces have reportedly beaten Boko Haram back from the threatened regional capital Maiduguri. News of this success is accompanied by reports of another danger, however: Veterans of the Qaddafi-era Libyan Army and Mali’s Civil War may be joining Boko Haram’s ranks. The Financial Times reports:
According to Issa Tchiroma, Cameroon’s communication minister, two Tuareg fighters were identified among the dead. If confirmed, the involvement of the Tuareg, who are from much farther north in Mali and Niger, might go some way to explaining Boko Haram’s steady transformation and the apparently swelling number of fighters in its ranks.Tuareg fighters fought in former Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi’s army and went on to lead the rebellion that in 2013 cut Mali in two.
A corridor for terrorists, arms traffickers, and smugglers has developed in North Africa, to the benefit of militant groups in Algeria, Libya, and Mali. As the FT suggests, if veterans of North Africa’s recent upheavals are starting to travel further south into Nigeria, it could make Boko Haram even stronger. The ripple effects caused by the Libyan Civil War just keep spreading.