Advanced arms aid Nigerian radicals
LAGOS, Nigeria — At first, the Islamic extremists in Nigeria's dusty northeast rode on the backs of motorcycles, firing on government officials and other perceived enemies with worn Kalashnikov assault rifles hidden beneath their flowing robes. Now, they come prepared for war.
When Islamic fighters drove into a town in northeast Nigeria on Tuesday, they used anti-aircraft guns, mounted on the backs of trucks, to destroy nearly every landmark of the nation's federal government. Fighters also rode in on at least one bus, the military said, while in other assaults insurgents have fired rocket-propelled grenades.
The militarization of Islamic radicals in the north occurs after witnesses saw Nigerian fighters mingle with the extremists who took over northern Mali in the weeks after a coup there. It occurs as fighters seized troves of Nigerian military equipment and have received access to arms smuggled out of the lawlessness of Libya.
Those new arms, and the willingness of extremists to use them, highlight the increasing instability in Nigeria's north and ever-growing dangers facing the nation's weak central government.
The sophistication of the fighters, likely from the extremist network known as Boko Haram, was evident in their Tuesday assault on Bama, 40 miles southeast of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. At least 42 people were killed as the insurgents' heavy weapons helped them overrun the barracks of the Nigerian Army's 202nd Battalion, as well as a police station, a police barracks, a magistrate's court, local government offices and a federal prison.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New parties shake up politics around Spain
- Iraqi militias begin move on Ramadi
- American reporter’s espionage trial begins
- Nuclear talks bog down as Iran team balks at key decisions, envoys say
- Army commando team kills senior Islamic State official in Syria raid
- Islamic State terrorists tighten grip on Ramadi, Iraq, execute opponents
- Iranian aid ship on final approach to Yemen
- Eiffel Tower temporarily shut down as employees walk out
- Former Israeli PM Olmert sentenced to prison for taking campaign money from American
- Americans with taste for mojitos flock to Havana
- Relentless heat wave kills more than 1,000 in India