by Isi Esene
A new group believed to be a break-away faction of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, have claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack on a military convoy conveying soldiers on their way to Mali as part of the peacekeeping mission to that country.
The group known as the Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis-Sudan (JAMBS), claimed it carried out the attack to warn Nigeria against joining Western powers in their “aim to demolish the Islamic empire of Mali.”
The soldiers were ambushed along Okene-Lokoja Road with Improvised Emp0losive Devices hauled at their convoy. Two soldiers and many others were reportedly injured in the attack.
Th Punch Newspapers reported it thus:
JAMBS claim came on a day that the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, was flown abroad for treatment after Saturday’s attack on his convoy. Bayero’s driver and three others died in the attack.
In a terse statement posted by an online publication, Dessert Herald, on Sunday, a person claiming to be the Leader of JAMBS, Abu usamatal Ansary, warned Nigeria and other African to be ready for “ more difficulties” as they embarked on restoring peace to Mali.
The statement reads, “We, members of JAMA’ATU ANSARUL MUSLIMINA FI BILADIS-SUDAN, are gladly informing the general public, especially those in black Africa, that with the aid and guidance of Allah, we on January 19, 2013 at Itape, Ekehi Local Government Area of Kogi State, successfully executed our first attempt in attacking the Nigerian troops that were aiming to demolish the Islamic Empire of Mali.
“We are equipped and waiting for any slightest attempt of Nigerian army moving towards the Islamic Empire of Mali. And we are warning African countries to stop helping Western countries in fighting against Islam and Muslims; if not, we are sternly assuring them, particularly the Nigerian government to be prepared and be utmost ready to face difficulties from JAMBS anywhere and anytime. May Allah help us and grant our wishes.”
When contacted, the Director of Army Public Relations, Maj.- Gen Bola Koleosho, said he had not seen the statement by the group.
He said the terrorists were giving Okenne a bad name which the people must resist.
He said “I have not seen it (the claim by JAMBS). I am just hearing it. We are not issuing any statement now.
“The only thing I see is that it could affect the image of Okenne as a town. Commuters passing through the town are already dreading it. They are giving the town a bad name. And I know that law-abiding people in the town would resist it.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian troops arrived Bamako, the Malian capital on Sunday.
Mali, a neighbouring West African country, has been in the throes of Islamic insurgency since March 2012 when mutinous soldiers in Bamako overthrew President Amadou Toumani Touré.
The soldiers said they were angry over the government’s alleged mishandling of a rebellion by nomadic Tuareg rebels in the country’s vast northern desert.
Following on the heels of the coup, the Tuareg rebels first seized much of the north and then were themselves pushed out by Islamist extremists.
The Nigerian soldiers are part of the West African intervention troops in the crisis.
With the Boko Haram sect already considered to be a handful for the country’s security agencies, many wonder if the JTF and others have the wherewithal to effectively tackle this dangerous JAMBS question.