Minister: Al-Qaida funds, arms Boko Haram

ABUJA, Nigeria, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Boko Haram, the militant group responsible for violence in Nigeria, was trained and got weapons from an al-Qaida sect, Nigeria's foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Mohamed Bazoum said during a meeting of west African ministers in Mauritania Wednesday he had no doubt about the relationship between the Boko Haram and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa, The (Lagos, Nigeria) Nation reported.


"There is no doubt, the two organizations are connected and they have the same objective of destabilizing our region," Bazoum said.

Ministers during the meeting in Nouakchott agreed to step up their efforts against militant groups, The Nation said.

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In Nigeria, meanwhile, a security analyst said former police leader Gen. Hariz Ringim was dismissed as a sacrificial lamb and shouldn't be held responsible for the inability of Nigeria's security agencies to stem the violence wreaked by Boko Haram, which wants the nation to adhere to Shariah law, Voice of America reported.

"One may not be wrong to say they are sacrificial lambs because of the [inability] of the State Security Services to detect and prevent crimes against the internal security of Nigeria. It is not the responsibility of the Nigerian police," Yahya Shunku said. "[Since] Boko Haram and other organizations started planting bombs here and there, we have never had the SSS detect or prevent any of such occurrences."


Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan dismissed Ringim and his deputies after naming Assistant Inspector-General Mohammed Abubakar as the country's new police chief.

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Nigerian officials also said about 200 people have been arrested following last week's violence in the country's northern Kano state, Agenzia Giornalistica Italia reported. Police said nearly 80 percent of the people arrested were "mercenaries from Chad."

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