This post lays the groundwork for an analytical post I hope to write next week on the recent attempt to assassinate the Emir of Kano. Before doing that, I want just to list four incidents where fighters suspected of links to Boko Haram have targeted hereditary Muslim rulers in northern Nigeria. I also want to crowd-source this a bit: What other similar incidents have I left out? Please let me know in the comments.
- May 30, 2011: Gunmen kill Shaykh Abba-Anas Umar Garbai, a younger brother of the Shehu of Bornu, in Maiduguri. At the link AFP reports that Boko Haram was suspected in the assassination of another of the Shehu’s siblings in April 2011, but I have not been able to find a separate story for this incident.
- July 13, 2012: The Shehu (whose name is Umar Garbai el-Kanemi) and Deputy Borno State Governor Zannah Mustapha survive a suicide bombing outside a mosque in Maiduguri after Friday prayers.
- August 3, 2012: The Emir of Fika, Alhaji Muhammed Abali Ibn Mohammed Idrisa, survives a suicide bombing after Friday prayers at Potiskum Central Mosque, in Yobe State.
- January 19, 2013: Gunmen fire at a convoy carrying the Emir of Kano, Abo Bayero, in Kano city, killing four people but not the Emir.
There is also another encounter that took place between Boko Haram and a hereditary Muslim ruler that is worth mentioning. During a prison break on September 7, 2010, Boko Haram fighters held the Emir of Bauchi and other worshipers inside a mosque near the prison they were targeting.
According to eyewitnesses, the militants entered the Bauchi Central Mosque at about 6.00 p.m. after setting up their armed men round about the entire area, and participated in observing the Magrib prayers, before breaking their fast. Immediately after the prayers, they announced that everybody inside the mosque, including the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, should remain where they were, as they were out for an operation at the prisons in order to free their colleagues who had been in detention awaiting trial since last year.
The armed men then opened fire from all directions and headed for the prisons, which is located directly opposite the Central Mosque and close to the emir’s palace using locally-made, but powerful devices which exploded like grenades and bombs. With these explosive devices, they set the prison and other property including vehicles, motorcycles and other valuables ablaze, before gaining entry into the prison yard.
In that incident it does not appear that they wanted to kill the Emir.