by Lekan Olanrewaju
Al-Qaeda has been named responsible for the increase in bombings in Nigeria, as well as Kenya and Somalia.
According to the United States Pentagon’s anti-IED unit, Nigeria saw a nearly fourfold jump in the number of improvised explosive device incidents last year, while Kenya saw an 86 percent increase.
John Myrick, a US bomb expert, told the Associated Press that militants in Somalia and Nigeria last year began using a deadlier, more advanced type of bomb, known as a shaped charge.
The bombs were used at the height of the war in Iraq and their presence in African countries is said to be proof of a connection to Al-Qaeda.
The anti-IED unit specifically says al-Qaida’s North African branch is increasing support to Nigerian militants, and another affiliate, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is supporting Somali militant groups.
“Bombs in Somalia are definitely more sophisticated and they’re definitely more effective against AMISOM armored vehicles, which represents an advance in the capabilities of the insurgents,” Myrick said. “The nature of the attacks indicates an increase in logistical support from some of the more sophisticated groups on the continent, and also an increase in training.”
He also stated that The Pentagon’s anti-IED unit expects Nigeria to see a slight increase in bomb incidents this year, before attack numbers plateau because militants will have reached their capacity to produce them.