The Nigerian intelligence community appears unravelled by the latest maneuverings of the Boko Haram. Sources close to the Nigerian intelligence community reveal there are strong indications that agents of Boko Haram recently dispatched snipers to the North East region of Nigeria – with a changed focus towards targeted killings and/or assassinations of persons considered prized targets.
According to the source, the snipers had received extensive training in East Africa – at an Al Quada affiliated training camp. Initially, intelligence reports available to Nigerian operatives suggested that about 1,000 trained snipers were dispatched Borno, Gombe, Yobe axis early this year (2012) to affect what was believed a broad sniper attack on Christians and members of the law enforcement community.
But the mode of attack by Boko Haram remained virtually the same – through suicide bombings and gun attack of police stations and worship centers – discounting the validity of the intelligence report on face value. This was until the leaders of the terrorist group made their intentions open via a video tape released on YouTube threatening to change focus of attack from mass killings to targeted killings of Nigeria’s elected officials and other top officials.
Recent attacks appear to show the terrorist group have made good on their threat. The suspicious assassination of the Nigerian Civilian War criminal, General Shuwa in Borno State recently opened the door to many like killings. In Kano, two federal road safety agents were gunned down on broad daylight by agents of Boko Haram on motorbikes. One of the attackers of the road safety agent (Somalia native) was caught by the JTF, and upon interrogation told the security agents they attacked the road safety agents because they seized their motorbikes the previous day. One other road safety employee was injured and the fourth escaped.
Two days following the attack [last week], another sniper-like attack hit Kano metropolis again at Gidan Wappa near Singer, where many merchant engage in local business. The attackers pounced on the market, shooting to death one of the leaders of the market and then carting away money estimated in the high millions of Naira, along with foreign currencies.
On Saturday [November 17], the gunmen struck Kano State again, this time shooting and killing the state lawmaker representing Garko local government area – Hon. Ibrahim Abba Garko. He was trailed and shot in the head and chest by two unknown gunmen who rode on motorbike.
The latest attack in Kano has led to the refortification of security forces in the various flash points in Kano. The elected official and other government officials are said to have been briefed by the security agents on the risk-level in Kano. Some of the lawmakers have fled Kano for other safe havens.
Yesterday, [Sunday November 18], in Maiduguri, Borno State, the men of Boko Haram struck in a sniper-like attack and killed a retired Reverend Ilaisha Kabura (aged 70) of the COCIN Maiduguri, Borno State inside his Maiduguri residence. He was shot and killed as he exited his home to attend Sunday service. He was killed by two men who escaped on motorbike.
The security source notes that the terrorist group is believed to be organizing a ‘big’ score in the Abuja federal capital territory, in the same manner it did in Kano State. The source – backed by intelligence reports – suspects the Islamic group may have generated a death list of federal lawmakers, security agents and Judges whom they intend to target and eliminate. What remains unsure are the criteria used by Boko Haram to place one's name on the death list, the source added, and it makes it difficult to know who they are after at a given time.
The new dispatch of snipers by Boko Haram is believed to spread across the north-eastern states of Nigeria – to include Abuja also. The Director of Kano State Security Service [SSS] declined to comment officially when contacted.