Kano bomb blasts - The Nation

By The Citizen

•Maximum use of local intelligence, by security agencies, will help to defeat Boko Haram

For a city that has had more than its fair share of terrorists' onslaught, last week's attack, by Boko Haram, on the Central Mosque in Kano during the Jumat service, speaks to the fierce urgency of collective action to bring the activities of the murderous group to an end.

Black Friday indeed it was, when three Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) — two reportedly planted inside the mosque and the other outside — ripped through the hallowed ground of the ancient mosque, where the Emir of Kano traditionally leads the Friday prayers.

In the end, more than 120 worshippers lay dead, with multiple scores injured. There have since emerged reports - although uncomfirmed - of residents foiling an attack by female bombers on Murtala Specialist Hospital Kano, where many of the injured were taken for treatment.

Considering that it has been nearly five years since the Christmas Day bombing in Madallah, a suburb of Abuja, the Kano massacre immediately indicates how far the nation still has to go in its battle against the Boko Haram sect — and what little dent we have made on this murderous menace.

Between then and now, the terrorists have grown bolder and more sophisticated; just as their capacity to inflict damage on the nation and the Nigerian military have since gone on steady rise. Inversely, the state's capacity to deal with them appears greatly and tragically diminished.

Today, they have somehow upped their pyschological advantage choosing, as it were, soft targets whenever and wherever it pleases them. In the course of their murderous activities, nothing is seen or held by the group as sacrosanct; schools, hospitals, churches and mosques are simply fair game in their warped vision to create their Islamic enclave.

Ominously, the group has since gone from hit-and-run guerilla tactics, with bases in the bush, to as far as carving up strategic towns and villages as their territories.

There have, understandably, been a lot of condemnations in the aftermath of the latest bloodbath by the maniacal group.  These condemnations are in order. Boko Haram's ritual of shedding innocent blood deserves to be condemned by every right-thinking citizen.

If it seems ironic that a group that describes itself as 'Islamic' would not see anything wrong with mass slaughter of Muslim children as we have seen in Buni Yadi, Gujba, both in Yobe, or even the School of Hygiene in Kano among others, it seems even more unimaginable that the group would ever care to draw the line when it came to a mosque.

Beyond the routine of angry denunciations and the resort to the blame game, however, it seems about time citizens banded together to confront the menace which threatens us all.

It is in this context that we find the statement credited to the Emir of Kano to the effect that the attack took over two months in planning rather puzzling, if not unsettling.

We are minded to ask: how did the revered monarch come by the information? What use did he make of them? Did he alert the security agencies when he got the information?

If no, why not? If he did, what steps did the security agencies take to forestall its occurence? These questions are pertinent because in matters of intelligence, every piece of information is supposed to count. And to the extent that absence of critical intelligence is said to be a major issue in the current war against the insurgency, it is expected that those who have privileged information should make them available to the security agencies.

Going forward, there are important lessons to take from the collaboration between the Civilian Joint Task Force and the Military Joint Task Force.

While it may seem premature to conclude that the collaboration would sooner extirpate the activities of the group, there is increasing evidence to suggest that local knowledge and intelligence from the Civilian-JTF are actually helping in the war against the terrorists.

We urge the military to work more closely with the local people in its continuing engagement with Boko Haram.