Ambassador John Campbell and Tolu Ogunlesi offer thoughts on Friday’s bombing of the UN building in Abuja, Nigeria. Next republishes and updates part of an editorial posted after the June bombing of the police headquarters in Abuja.
Baobab on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Somalia:
BAOBAB…was moved beyond cynicism by the Turkish prime minister’s visit to Mogadishu on August 19th. Mr Erdogan is not the first head of state to visit Somalia’s wrecked capital since central authority collapsed there in 1992. But the nature of his visit was different. It was not about regional security. He came with his wife and daughter, his cabinet ministers and their families. The trip was brief and choreographed to boost standing at home. But that should not diminish the courage shown. The Turkish plane scraped the runway on landing. Even though the Shabab had been forced out of the city, the visit was an extraordinary security risk.
Osiama Molefe, meanwhile, writes that the $70 million that African leaders have raised for Somalia calls their commitment to “Africans solutions for African problems” into question.
Kal offers his initial thoughts on the fall of Colonel Moammar Qadhafi.
Kim Yi Dionne posts some results from her team’s study of protests in Malawi.
Sanou Mbaye asks, “Can Senegal Succeed?” (h/t Loomnie)
Philip Lancaster on the intractable problem of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Ashley Elliott takes a look at where things stand in Cote d’Ivoire.
What are you reading today?
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BOKO HARAM: The Nightmare Scenario
The UN building bombing shows that Boko Haram is ready to do the bidding of Al Qaeda. Everyone knows that Al Qaeda is not really after the UN, it is after American interests.
Abuja will be relatively well patrolled, so Al Qaeda is likely to suggest that Boko Haram should target American interests in less well guarded Lagos. Weapons can be very easily smuggled from the North to Lagos in trailers carrying yam or tomatoes. There are a plethora of soft targets at Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island (and many more softer targets in the Lagos Mainland).
If Al Qaeda / Boko Haram succeeds (with significant collateral damage – dead Southern Nigerians), it triggers off a response from OPC (Odua People Congress – ethnic Yoruba militia). Mayhem ensues, the Military is forced to take power, the Niger Delta cries foul (because Jonathan has been deposed). The Niger Delta erupts.
This could be what Osama Bin Laden met when he said “Nigeria is ripe for revolution”.
These events are not so far-fetched. Let us pray for peace.
One hardly has to be under the control of a group to share their opinions. Additionally I suspect that Al Qaeda would take any international target they could get, especially with so little success in recent years.
It is true that this is a shift from the traditional focus on targeting the Nigerian state and peaceful opponents but it isn’t enough to prove that Boko Haram isn’t acting on its own.
I was of the opinion that Boko Haram was acting alone until I read their press release and I asked myself the question; “why did they attack the UN headquarters?”. Make no mistake, they are after Westerners now and Abuja and Lagos are full of soft targets.
I noticed that most of the victims of the bomb blast were non-Westerners and this is probably why this event has been all but forgotten by most Western news media outlets.
The U.S East Coast did just get hit by a hurricane (fortunately a weak one) that’s left millions without power. Additionally I have to note that Al Jazeera seems to show about as much interest in the bombing as the New York Times or BBC.
If there was at least one confirmed Western causality (British, American, French, German or Israeli), it would have been better covered.
Sad, but true.
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Interesting link, please read the comments.