Terrorists are consolidating their grip on communities in Kaduna with a “parallel” government and “permanent operational base” in the North-western state near Nigeria’s capital Abuja, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has told President Muhammadu Buhari, PREMIUM TIMES can exclusively report.
Mr El-Rufai warned the president of the terrorists’ consolidation in a late July memo, sighted by PREMIUM TIMES.
The terrorists belonging to Ansaru al-Musulmina fi Bilad al-Sudan, or Ansaru for short, are believed to have moved to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State in 2012 when they broke away from Boko Haram.
According to intelligence reports and human sources consulted in further reporting for this story, the terrorists that formed Ansaru were responsible for some of the high-profile attacks claimed by Boko Haram before the split.
Such attacks included the UN building bombing of August 2011 and the kidnap of some foreigners. According to the sources, Ansaru pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM, in 2020, and is responsible for many of the high-profile abductions as well as armed attacks on the police in Kaduna State.
But researchers and negotiators with an understanding of the working of the terrorists told PREMIUM TIMES that a collaboration of the terror groups, including the original Boko Haram – also called JAS -, ISWAP, Ansaru, and bandits, is evolving.
In 2021, 1,192 people lost their lives in Kaduna State due to banditry, terrorism, communal clashes, violent attacks, and reprisals. In the first six months of 2022, 645 people lost their lives in such circumstances across the state, the government said.
In Mr El-Rufai’s late July memo, he lay bare how the terrorists have infiltrated and dominated communities and formed “a parallel governing authority,” exercising control over social and economic activities and dispensation of justice in the area.
He said the terrorists have advanced in their plans to make Kaduna forest areas their “permanent operational base” for the North-west region, citing a “series of intelligence reports.”
“Observed movement patterns and intercepted communications of migrating terrorists have shown a clear interest in setting up a base, with the stretches of forest area between Kaduna and Niger states strongly considered,” he wrote.