ABUJA: A U.S. intelligence report showed that Osama bin Laden provided everything from seed money to strategic direction to the now-infamous Nigerian terror group, The Punch newspaper reported
In 2002, Osama bin Laden dispatched an aide to Nigeria to hand out $3 million in local currency to a wide array of Salafist political organizations there that shared al Qaeda’s goal of imposing Islamic rule
According to the report, one of those organizations was Boko Haram, the terrorist outfit that’s become globally infamous for its threat to sell girls into slavery.
Officially, the U.S. intelligence community assesses that the group has only tangential links to al Qaeda’s north African affiliate, and that reports of bin Laden backing the Nigerian outfit are off-base. But inside the secret state, many analysts believe that the ties between Boko Haram and al Qaeda global leadership go much deeper—and are about more than a little seed money
“There were channels between bin laden and Boko Haram leadership,” one senior U.S. intelligence official said. “He gave some strategic direction at times.
Boko Haram was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002. Yusuf was killed in police custody in 2009
A comprehensive report on Boko Haram published by the International Crisis Group, also confirmed that Boko Haram’s early leader, Mohammed Yusuf, received some seed money from a disciple of Osama bin Laden named Mohammed Ali in 2002
The report added that bin Laden got to know Ali in the 1990s when he was based in Sudan, adding that after Ali travelled with bin Laden to Afghanistan, he was provided with $3m in Nigerian currency in 2002 and sent to the north of the country to fund a wide array of Salafist political organizations to help spread al-Qaeda’s ideology