In 1995, the group was said to be
operating under the name
Shabaab, Muslim Youth
Organisation. It operated from
the Indimi Mosque, located along
Damboa Road, Maiduguri, Borno State and had one Mallam Lawal
as leader and another Mallam
Usman as secretary. It was learnt that in 1999, Lawal
left Nigeria for further studies at
the University of Medina, Saudi
Arabia, thereby yielding the
leadership of the group to the
man known as Mustapha Modu Jon, commonly called Mohammed
Yusuf. Yusuf’s leadership was said to
have opened the group to
political influences and increased
popularity. Although Yusuf’s religious
activism was linked to Kano,
where he had brushes with
popular Islamic clerics, he was said
to have laid the foundation for
the growth of the organisation. Details about the late Yusuf,
however, indicated that he hailed
from Gingir village in Jakusko
Local Government Area of Yobe
State. He was born on 29
January 1970, married four wives and had 12 children. “By 2000, Yusuf had won the
respect and confidence of some
clerics and youths at Indimi
Mosque. He started presiding
over some mosque activities and
along the line, he upstaged all the teachers to emerge a leader.
Many youths who followed him
saw the older clerics as secular
and anti-Sharia. “His followers are largely
illiterate youths who engaged in
petty trading or had dropped
out of school,” a source said. ESTABLISHMENT OF MUHAMMAD
He then established his own
mosque in an area called Railway
Quarters in Maiduguri, while also
extending his preaching to the mosques located at Kandahar,
Unguwar Doki (near Monday
Market) and Millionaire’s
Quarters. Investigators were also told that
by early 2004, the Islamic sect
had grown in states of presence
with Borno, Yobe and Bauchi
being notable and that some of
the converted youths abandoned their studies to join the group.
The ready-made army of
followers were, however, said to
be the Almajiri. It was after 2004 that the sect
leaders were said to have
established links with the Algerian
Salafist Group, now known as Al-
Qaeda in Islamic Magreb, (AQIM),
which gave them training on combat and use of Improvised
Explosive Devices (IEDs). From trainings acquired in AQIM, it
was gathered that members of
Boko Haram were able to show
dexterity in handling of weapons
and manufacture of what is called
“dirty bombs” through IEDs NEW STRATEGY.
It was gathered that
investigations by operatives have
revealed that following recent
arrests of high profile members
of the sect as well as the fortification of most high targets,
including headquarters of
security outfits, a strategy has
been put in place to ensure
precision of attack. Said a source close to the
administration, “recent
discoveries have shown that due
to the fortification of premises of
important buildings set aside as
targets by Boko Haram, strategy has been put in place to simulate
convoys of high profile Nigerians
so as to gain access to target
buildings.” The plan, according to sources, is
to use convoys with sirens to
infiltrate headquarters of
security agencies and local
government area offices of such
agencies to unleash terror. Another strategy is to attack
christian worship centers in
volatile Northern states, this will
trigger reprisal in all parts of the
country, therefore the security
will be highly involved in containing the situation that will
enable Boko Haram to unleash
deadlier attacks to their targets
easily and achieve their aim of
causing general chaos and
As a result of the comments said
to have been attributed to a top
Nigerian security source that the
Boko Haram would soon run out
of suicide bombers, investigators were also said to have confirmed
fresh recruitment drives. It was gathered that the group
now uses internet to propagate
its activities and enhance its
radicalisation and circulation of
extremist ideologies. Already, it was said that the sect
is planning to double its huge
following in such states as Kano,
Bauchi, Adamawa, Yobe, Sokoto,
Plateau, Kaduna and Katsina. The recruitment drive is said to
be targeted at muslims between
ages of 17 and 30, a source said,
adding that the group has also
been recruiting its followers
through prison breaks when freed prisoners are brainwashed
to become adherents. – Nigerian
Dan Arewa.