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U.S. Monitors Presence Of Jihadists In North-central Nigeria

The U.S. is keeping a close eye on the presence of Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organisations in North-central Nigeria but officials are hesitant to draw any conclusions soon.

The United States is keeping an eye on reports of Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists known as Ansaru occupying hundreds of villages in North-central Nigeria, particularly in Niger State. 

According to officials, the Ansaru, which split from Boko Haram, has taken over more than 500 villages across eight local governments in Niger State and raised flags in other villages such as Shiroro and Kaure. 

Ansaru was formed in 2012 with full name Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan, which means: “Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa.”

Dissatisfied with the late Shekau’s leadership operations, Ansaru stated that its main targets would be Nigerian security officials and anyone who works with them.

According to those with deep knowledge of the group, the terrorists include foreign fighters who chant religious slogans while launching attacks, distinguishing them from other non-ideologically motivated terrorists locally known as bandits. 

“They tell local people that they are not fighting them, but with the government and its institutions,” Suleman Chukuba, a Shiroro local government official, told VOA. 

HumAngle has also looked into the presence of the Jama’atu Ahlussunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad (JAS), Shekau’s faction of Boko Haram, and discovered over 400 active fighters in the area connecting Niger and Zamfara states. 

However, given the rapid rise and fall of various terror organisations in Nigeria over the past few months, U.S. officials are wary of drawing any conclusions soon. 

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Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu is an Assistant Editor at HumAngle and Head of the Radicalism and Extremism Desk. He has years of experience researching misinformation and influence operations. He is passionate about analysing jihadism in Africa and has published several articles on the topic. His work has been featured in various local and international publications.

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