FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

23 July 2014

Liberia: Is Boko Haram Really Planning Liberia Attack? Suspect Alarms

Four months after Mr. Frank Nyekan, the new Director of the Executive Protective Service told the Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence during his confirmation hearing that Liberia is being used as a hide-out for leaders of Nigeria Islamic terrorist group Boko-Haram, an escaped Cameroonian claiming to be a member of the group has reportedly told security officials in Liberia that two naturalized Liberians from Mali, Nigeria are on reconnaissance mission in Liberia to stage a bombing attack on the post-war nation.

Mitchell King was arrested at the Loquatuo border last Saturday evening, July 18, 2014, by the joint security. King, according to immigration and police sources reportedly explained that that he is a member of the Boko Haram group from Nigeria and came to Liberia to inform the Liberian government that two of the group's members are on a mission to bomb or attack Liberia at any time.

"The two mission men are said to be naturalized Liberians, one from Nigeria and one from Mali," the suspect in custody, reportedly told authorities.

In March, Nyekan told the Senate committee: "Terrorism is spreading now. Nobody needs to tell you that Boko-Haram is next door in Nigeria. Some are using Liberia as a sleep-out where they come and sleep when they do their thing. They come as Nigerian businessmen to sleep after a period of time, they lost and returned to Nigeria. They commit the act, when they are being searched for, they run to Liberia. From Liberia to Nigeria is not far. You have to look at it critically because the election is coming; you need protection here and at home. There is a need for some kind of legislation that will protect Legislators."

At the time, Nyekan's declaration drew criticisms from some Liberians who accused him of inflating a threat to validate his confirmation hearing. The EPS director-designate made the comment as he sought to convince members of the national legislature of the need to institute good security measures for their safety, through training of a special group that will be charged with the responsibility of providing that August body with security.

Boko Haram is an Islamic militant and terrorist organization based in the northeast of Nigeria. Founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, the organization seeks to establish a "pure" Islamic state ruled by Sharia Law putting a stop to what it deems "Westernization."

The group is known for attacking Christians and government targets, bombing churches, attacking schools and police stations, kidnapping western tourists, but has also assassinated members of the Islamic establishment. Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths between 2001 and 2013.

Despite the threat in Nigeria, the Nigerian government remains committed to supporting and maintaining post-war stability in Liberia. Some 700 Nigerian soldiers were recently deployed to Liberia on a peacekeeping mission despite a strong Boko Haram insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.

The insurgency plummeted to international limelight on the night of April 14-15 when 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.

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