Nigerian Generals Are Arming Boko Haram

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 4 2014 5:57 PM

Nigerian Generals Are Arming Boko Haram

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Members of Nigerian military found guilty of aiding Boko Haram.

Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

Nigeria’s Boko Haram problem may run deeper than first expected. As the Islamist group responsible for the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls have stepped up attacks in northeast Nigeria, comes news that the extremist group is getting help from the Nigerian military. “Ten generals and five other senior military officers were found guilty in courts-martial of providing arms and information to Boko Haram extremists, a leading Nigerian newspaper reported Tuesday,” the Associated Press reports.

Here’s more from the AP:

The news follows months of allegations from politicians and soldiers who have told The Associated Press that some senior officers were helping the Islamic extremists and that some rank-and-file soldiers even fight alongside the insurgents and then return to army camps. They have said that information provided by army officers has helped insurgents in ambushing military convoys and in attacks on army barracks and outposts in their northeastern stronghold.
President Goodluck Jonathan said last year that he believed that some members of the military and even of his own government, including some Cabinet ministers, sympathized with Boko Haram or belonged to the group.
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The Nigerian military has denied that members of the court-martials, but as the BBC reports, the denials contradict “Interior Minister Abba Moro who in a BBC interview on Tuesday said it was ‘good news’ that the army had identified soldiers who were undermining the fight against the insurgents, and that it sent a strong message to other serving officers.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.