The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
World's Most Dangerous Terrorists Cooperating Across North Africa

The most dangerous terror groups in the world are coordinating in new and alarming ways across north and west Africa, a development that has been underreported by the mainstream media.

Nigerian insurgents defending what they call the ”Islamic Empire of Mali” attacked a convoy of Nigerian soldiers rushing to the assistance of international troops in Mali on Saturday. IRIN (a UN news service) reports:

Two Nigerian soldiers were killed and five others seriously injured in a 19 January attack on a military detachment heading for deployment in Mali, as part of Nigeria’s contribution to a UN-sanctioned African intervention force to reclaim northern Mali from Islamists.

The militants belong to a Boko Haram offshoot known as the Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa, or simply Ansaru. Ansaru split from Boko Haram about a year ago and espouses a more international, pan-Islamist, pan-Africa vision. Monday’s attack was an act of revenge for the Nigerian military’s participation in the fight against Islamist insurgents in Mali, according to an Ansaru statement.

Ansaru may call itself more “pan-Islamic” than Boko Haram, but Boko Haram is moving in that direction as well. Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau was shot and wounded by Nigerian troops at a checkpoint outside Gao, deep in Islamist territory in northern Mali.

The Nigerian soldiers recovered rifles and explosives from Shekau’s vehicle, which they traced back to the uprising against Qaddafi in Libya, reported Vanguard, a Nigerian newspaper. Vanguard also learned that Boko Haram was operating training camps in Mali to prepare fighters for the insurgency back in Nigeria.

So: A ideologically aligned Islamist groups are cooperating strategically across north and west Africa, bolstered by fighters and weapons that flooded out of post-Qaddafi Libya.

But wait, isn’t the global war on terror supposed to be over?

Published on January 23, 2013 1:12 pm