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Cablegate: Army Fights Fundamentalist Group in Yobe

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 000017

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KIRF PHUM NI POLMIL
SUBJECT: Army Fights Fundamentalist Group in Yobe

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, NOT FOR PUBLICATION ON THE
INTERNET OR INTRANET

1. (SBU) On Christmas Day, Nigerian members of an
extremist Islamic sect destroyed the police station in
the town of Kanamma in Yunsari Local Government Area
(LGA) in Yobe State near the border with Niger, killed
a policeman, and carried away arms and ammunition. The
sect lost three of its own members in the process.
They kidnapped three other policemen whom they later
released.

2. (SBU) On December 28 they moved south to Geidam LGA,
still in Yobe State near the Niger border, where they
attacked three police stations. The group then
reportedly attacked a police station in Damaturu (about
200 km further south), the Yobe State capital, in the
early morning of January 1. The group was repulsed,
though two officers were killed. Between December 29
and January 1, a small joint force of police and army
launched a retaliatory attack and pushed the group out
of Kanamma and Geidam. The leader of the sect was
captured (name reported as Mullah Musa), varying
reported numbers of sect members were killed, four
police officers were killed, and numerous sect members
have fled into the wild leading to reports that clashes
are continuing. Local media reported on January 6 that
seven members of the group were arrested in Difa,
Niger.

3. (SBU) State Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim claimed many
"Taliban-oriented radicals" seeking an Islamic state
had been killed in the military attack and that the
group was "effectively crushed." Ibrahim said the
group migrated from Maiduguri in Borno State and set up
a camp in an open area between Yobe State and the Niger
Republic. The governor stated that his government had
sought to persuade the group to move on after
complaints from local residents but that instead they
had turned on security forces. The governor referred
to the group as "Muhajirun," a term used for Islamic
freedom fighters, and "Hijrah." Media reports listed
the name of the group as Al Sunna Wal Jamma, with
numerous translations.

4. (SBU) The GON has not been able to confirm any of
the various reports about the group's origins or
agenda, other than the attacks above. Some press
reports say the sect is made up of mainly middle-class
Nigerian university students and graduates based in
Maiduguri and inspired by the Taliban's vision of an
Islamic state. During the last Eid-el Fitr, they
reportedly distributed leaflets in which they accused
the government of fraudulent activities and non-
adherence to Shari'a.
ROBERTS

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