New Jihadists from Africa’s Sahel threaten Ogun, Oyo – IROHIN ODUA

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New Jihadists from Africa’s Sahel threaten Ogun, Oyo

By Joseph Ologeh with agency reports

Four prominent Yoruba Obas have been murdered while kidnapping in Yoruba territories have not substantially abated.

Cells of terrorists ate believed to be present in Yoruba urban areas.

Armed Islamic extremists from Sahel have migrated to Northern Nigeria with a stretch of cells extending to parts of Ogun and Oyo States, new findings have shown.

The armed groups have for a long time operated in the Sahel focusing on Niger, Mali and the Northern part of Benin Republic.

Last Wednesday, a large number of the armed group migrated to North West Nigeria with a good number of them settling near Northern parts of Kwara which is very close to Oke-Ogun, Oyo State and the Yelwa area of Ogun State.

“They are armed to the teeth. Their affiliation with ISIS is well known. They receive support from armed groups operating in the Middle East” a security expert who does not wish to be named told Irohinoodua.

Few years ago, the same armed group had invaded Ayetoro area sacking many villages and forcing Yoruba indigenous peoples to relocate to Benin Republic.

Many of them remained in exile from their ancestral homes for more that 14 months.

The AP reported that the fighters who had long operated in Africa’s volatile Sahel region have settled in northwestern Nigeria after crossing from neighboring Benin, a report said Wednesday, the latest trend in the militants’ movements to wealthier West African coastal nations.

AP said the extremists thought to be linked to al-Qaida have in the last year crossed over from Benin’s hard-hit northern region and settled in Kainji Lake National Park, one of Nigeria’s largest, where other armed groups have also gained access.

The Clingendael Institute which has done a lot of research on armed groups in the Sahel said the Jihadists are now fully entrenched in Nigeria amidst a Yoruba political elite that are naive and largely driven by profiteering with zero commitment to independent intelligence gathering and known for the lack of internal planning, organisation and ideological direction.

Indigenous peopls around the Kainji Lake informed The Associated Press that the facility, which holds one of West Africa’s fast-declining lion populations, has been closed for more than a year because of security threats from armed groups attacking neighboring villages and roads.

“Before, it was like a tourism center (but) now, people find it difficult to pass through there,” said John Yerima, who lives near the park in New Bussa town. “You cannot enter that road (leading to the park) now. It is dangerous, seriously.”

The areas mentioned were actually partly Yoruba territories move from Kwara State to Niger State by the military Government of Ibrahim Babangida in 1991 when new states were created.

Babangida is from Niger-State.

AP reported that workers offload bags of grains from a truck at a market in Gombe, Nigeria, on June 3, 2024. The World Bank has approved a $2.25 billion loan for Nigeria to shore up revenue and support economic reforms that have contributed to the worst cost-of-living crisis in many years for Africa’s most populous country.

Armed groups operating in Nigeria traditionally, experts say, may have found a new alliance with the terrorists that have just migrated to North West Nigeria.

There are assumptions that the terrorists are targeting River Niger which flows from Guinea to Nigeria reaching the oil rich Niger-Delta with hundreds of tributaries.

They are also believed to target industrial Lagos and Ogun State in South West Nigeria.

Yoruba elite often rely on the compromised Nigerian security architecture which has proved to be incapable of addressing terrorists constant threats in Yorubaland while effective local initiative is nill.

Poverty, leadership ineptitude, corruption and elite irresponsibility continue to fuel armed resistance against the state in Nigeria.

AP quotes UN report which says a quarter of the world’s children under 5 have severe food poverty. Many are in Africa

The report says the security situation at the 5,300-square kilometer (2,000-square mile) park in Niger state and along the nearby border with Benin is “getting out of hand” and is “a much more explosive situation than we had anticipated,” said Kars de Bruijne, one of the authors of the report and a senior research fellow at the institute.

The “sustained presence” of the armed groups in the park is the first sign of a connection between Nigeria’s homegrown extremists that have launched a decadelong insurgency in its northern region, and al-Qaida-linked militants from the Sahel, the vast arid expanse south of the Sahara Desert, Bruijne said.

Their presence offers an opportunity for the extremists to claim large-scale success in both countries, already wracked by deadly attacks in recent years, he added.

Known as a global hot spot for violent extremism, the Sahel region’s worsening security crisis comes as military coups are toppling democratic governments. As the military governments struggle to contain the violence, they are increasingly severing security with traditional partners France and the United States and turning to Russia for support.

In northwest Nigeria, security analysts have in the past warned that the region’s remote territories, where the government is largely absent but have rich mineral resources and high poverty levels, present an opportunity for expansion for jihadi groups that had operated mainly in the Sahel, as well as the Islamic State group, whose fighters hold sway in the Lake Chad basin.

“A link between Lake Chad and the Sahel is a major opportunity for al-Qaida and the Islamic State to boast about their profiles as leaders of global jihad,” the report said.

There are also concerns from conservationists that the presence of armed groups in the park could further threaten the remaining lions whose populations have declined as a result of poaching and climate change. They say the park and most protected wildlife areas in Nigeria are poorly patrolled, making them easy targets for armed groups.

“The security situation has become top of the list when it comes to the concerns about the lion populations in Nigeria,” said Stella Egbe, senior conservation manager at the Nigerian Conservation Foundation.

The Nigerian military often conducts aerial bombardments and deploys its personnel in criminal hideouts in the conflict-battered northern region. However, security forces — fatigued by the decadelong war in the northeast — are still outnumbered and outgunned in those remote villages, and the root causes of the conflict such as poverty remain.

The Clingendael report according to AP said it is unclear what the motive of the Sahel extremists in the park is and what their relationship with other armed groups there will be. Security analysts say it offers opportunities for logistics and more influence amid booming illegal trade across the porous border.

“The Sahelian jihadis potentially can try to use northwestern Nigeria as a place for fundraising, for logistics and to try to influence the jihadi groups there as part of their own competition,” said James Barnett, a fellow at the Hudson Institute whose works in northwestern Nigeria were cited in the report.

The bandits have on a few occasions in the past collaborated with jihadi fighters as two separate groups in carrying out attacks. But even in rare collaborations, he said, there can be “very deadly consequences.”

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