The Pentagon’s shadow war in Africa could have a new front, if reports coming out of Nigeria are accurate. U.S. troops are headed to Nigeria to help local forces do battle with Boko Haram, an Islamic terror group that has killed up to 400 people this year in an escalating campaign of bombings and shootings. At least that’s what Nigerian military sources tell Scott Morgan, a journalist based in Washington, D.C. who writes under the pseudonym “Confused Eagle.” The Guardian also has the story.
U.S. officials have refused to confirm the deployment.
However, a new U.S. assistance mission would be consistent with steadily increasing Pentagon involvement in a wide range of African conflicts. American forces have been active in and around Somalia for the better part of a decade, targeting pirates and the terror group al-Shabab. Last month, President Barack Obama announced he was sending 100 U.S. advisers to help the Ugandan army track the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group in Congo. And this year the Pentagon has quietly set up a number of new bases in Ethiopia and the Seychelles to provide air support to all these operations.
Boko Haram certainly ranks alongside al-Shabab and the murderous LRA. In August, the Nigerian group attacked the U.N.’s Nigerian headquarters, killing 23. In their home town of Maiduguri, Boko Haram gunmen riding on motorcycles waged a campaign of terror that forced the government to ban the bikes. The Nigerian military and police have cracked down on the terror group, leading to allegations of brutality and extra-judicial killings.