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Glocalization of Terrorism in West Africa – Dr. Oyeniyi Bukola Adeyemi

March 1, 2013


Glocalization of Terrorism in West Africa

Oyeniyi Bukola Adeyemi (PhD) [1]

RIMA Occasional Papers, Volume 1 (2013), Number 4 (March 2013)


The fast-growing influence of China in Africa, corruption and terrorism are the three most-discussed issues in contemporary Africa. Except where a state’s political economy is hampered by terrorist activities, most discourses tend to focus either on China’s presence in Africa or on corruption. However, activities of Boko Haram and the Arab Movement of the Azawad in Nigeria and Mali respectively make clear that economic and political developments are meaningless in the face of acute insecurity.[2] This essay examines terrorism, as a major security challenge, in contemporary Africa. Although adopting a long-term historical perspective, the essay underscores current trends in the phenomenon of terrorism. It argues that terrorism in Africa derives, on the one hand, from Africa’s bumpy road to independence, and, on the other hand, from the inability of post-colonial African states to relate to their citizens’ needs and aspirations. Also important to the discourse in this essay is Africans responses to global happenings.[3]

Notwithstanding these three factors, the essay, using interviews, documentary evidence and archival records, identifies two variables – grievance and greed – as underlying causes of unwholesome state-civil relations as well as directing the current spate of terrorism in contemporary Africa.

In addition to this introductory section, this essay is structured into four other sections. The trajectory of terrorism in Africa with particular emphasis on West Africa is traced in section two, while section three examines motives for terrorism in Africa. In the forth section, the essay focuses on current trends in the terrorism discourse. The fifth section, which summarizes the basic findings of the study, concludes that owing to profitable opportunities, terrorism in Africa is assuming a new, unprecedented dimension – the tendency for local terrorist groups to feed into global terrorist networks. To understand this local in the global (‘glocalization’); this study, using examples drawn essentially from West Africa, argues that local groups, through networks of religion, derive and share man-power, funding, training and other logistics with global terror-networks.

History of Terrorism in West Africa

Terrorism in Africa can be understood from four different viewpoints: the pre-independence nationalist and liberation movements, the post-independence civil war problems, the transplantation of the Palestinian-Israeli issue to Africa, and the emergence of al-Qaeda network.[4]

Africa’s political history reveals that African leaders and their supporters deployed revolutionary warfare, liberation struggle, and wars of independence to counter institutionalized violence perpetrated by colonial authorities or white minority rule. In South Africa, for instance, the apartheid regime unleashed veritable terror on the opposition and, in response, the African National Congress (ANC) carried out a number of bombings and destruction of power installations, post offices, and other apartheid institutions. The situations of Morocco and Tunisia were different only by degrees from that of Algeria, where, after 124 years of la presence francaise, during which the French colons maintained an iron-grip on political power and terrorized the majority Muslim and indigenous population, Algerian nationalists under the aegis of the Front de Liberation Nationale (FNL) launched coordinated terror attacks on police posts, barracks, bridges, vineyards, cereal farms, farm buildings and telephone lines. In Nigeria, the 1921 Oke-Ogun Uprising was quelled by Imperial Britain through commando-like guerrilla tactics and bush-action, which decimated more than ten thousand Yorùbá people in three weeks.[5]

Colonial authorities and white minority overlords considered Nelson Mandela, Jomo Kenyatta, Patrice Lumumba and others in the Algerian war of the 1950s and early 1960s and the FRELIMO resistance struggle against the Portuguese colonial authorities in Mozambique in the 1960s and 1970s as terrorists. Undoubtedly, one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. It goes without saying that activities of these African leaders were geared towards a people’s right to self-determination, as enshrined in international law.

If nationalist forces and their activities constituted the first wave of terrorism in Africa, protagonists in African civil wars and conflicts in the independence period constituted the second wave. Examples of these included the Biafran secessionists in Nigeria (1967-1970), the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) in Angola (the 1970s to the 1990s), various political groups in Ethiopia in the 1970s and 1980s, Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO) in Mozambique in the 1980s, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in Sudan from the 1980s, etc.[6]

The Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), which resulted from economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions, was exacerbated by British colonial policy of divide and rule that was inherited by Nigerian nationalists at independence. These tensions degenerated into a military coup in 1966, a coup that was largely seen as an Igbo Coup because the plotters executed only political leaders from Northern and Western Nigeria. Irked by the coup, Northerners in the Nigerian Army, led by Lt. Col. Murtala Mohammed, executed a counter-coup, which put Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon in power on 29 July 1966. Ethnic tensions generated by the coup and counter-coup resulted in large-scale massacres of Igbo soldiers, officers and civilians who were living in Northern Nigeria. This development culminated in the secession of the south-eastern region from Nigeria on 30 May 1967. To bring the south-eastern region back into a one Nigeria, war became inevitable. In this war, terrorism intermingled with genocide, with more than a million women and children killed.[7]

In addition to state terrorism and civil war, groups that were deploying terror in their negotiation with other groups and the state abound in Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Mali and other nations across West Africa. In the case of Nigeria, the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), Bakassi Boys, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) have deployed terror in their negotiations with the state and other citizens and groups.[8]

Military dictatorship, especially under Generals Babangida, Abacha and Abubakar, not only stifled opposition, but also introduced favouritism in government appointments, promotion and allocation of developmental projects. These trends combined to make crime and criminal activities rampant. The inability of law enforcement agencies to curtail the spate of crime and violent conflicts in the country engendered a situation whereby non-state actors, in their bids to provide security and other necessities, contested crime control and community policing with law enforcement agents.

Beginning with the OPC, on 20 February 2001, two police officers and three members of the OPC were killed in clashes between the police and OPC in Ikotun Egbe in Lagos after the police tried to disperse a gathering of the OPC that was considered illegal. On 10 August 2001, one alleged robber, Saheed Akanbi, was set ablaze by the OPC in the Agege area of Lagos state.[9] Akanni Arikuyeri was killed and nailed to a wooden cross on 10 August 2001 by the OPC in the Idi-Oro area of Lagos. The alleged offence of this middle-age man was that he had killed several members of the OPC and policemen who had attempted to stop his robberies. In a similar vein, between 1 and 13 January 2002, 36 people were killed in clashes between the OPC and the guards of Olowo’s palace at Owo. As a result of these multiple killings, Ganiyu Adams – leader of the OPC – was declared wanted by the police. Over the years members of the OPC and the leaders, Dr. Fasheun and Ganiyu Adams, have been arrested and detained ten times for these and many other activities. Only once were they brought to trial.

By 2001, newspaper reports were replete with stories of the inhuman treatment, extrajudicial killings and human rights violations perpetrated by the Bakassi Boys in Abia state. In fact, 25 deaths were recorded on 30 October 2001, reportedly the work of the Bakassi Boys because of late payment of rent. On 25 January 2002 at Umuleri community, 11 suspected armed robbers were summarily executed by the Bakassi Boys. As a result of its alleged nefarious activities, the mobile police raided five operations bases of the Bakassi Boys and liberated 46 prisoners being held in different cells.[10]

Irrespective of the claims of controlling crime and criminality, the activities of the Bakassi Boys (Abia) included arson, kidnapping, extra-judicial killings, looting, unlawful detention and disappearances. The police, and sometimes the communities, are in no doubt that these groups are more of a menace than a partner in curbing crime and criminality or fighting for ethnic goals. In February 2001, for example, Mr. Gilbert Okoye, the leader of the Anambra state Bakassi Boys, was arrested and questioned by the police over the murder of Ezeodumegwu Okonkwo, the chairperson of the All People’s Party (APP), the main opposition party in Anambra state.[11] Like Ezeodumegwu Okonkwo, Odi Okaka Oquosa, an artist and a religious leader, was arrested and tortured by the Bakassi Boys in Onitsha on 19 October 2000. His offence was that he had been paying regular visits to the chairperson of the Bakassi Boys in Onitsha to persuade him to order his boys to stop the human rights violations they had allegedly committed. He was severely beaten for three days and eventually released through the intervention of his relatives.[12]

The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) estimated the number of extra-judicial executions committed by the Bakassi Boys in Anambra state at over 2 000 between April 2000 and January 2002. Its report also stated that thousands who had been treated cruelly, inhumanly or in a degrading way or tortured by the Bakassi Boys of Anambra state had either lost their lives from injuries sustained or been stigmatized as criminals. Between 4 January and 15 March 2002 alone, an estimated 105 people were extra-judicially executed by the vigilante service in Onitsha and its environs.[13]

In response to these widespread criminal activities, the then Anambra state governor, Chinwoke Mbadinoju, imposed a code of conduct on the Anambra Vigilante Service (AVS), requiring the group to hand over suspected criminals to the police. However, this was hardly observed. After this, the AVS was alleged to have set up detention camps in Onitsha main market and other locations in the state. In these camps, different degrees of torture, inhuman and degrading treatments were meted out to suspected criminals. Frequently, gruesome decapitations, dismemberments and incinerations of victims were reported.[14] Between 15 and 31 July 2000, witnesses stated that over 30 people were killed and their bodies dismembered with machetes and set ablaze in various locations in and around Onitsha. Eddy Okeke, a religious leader from Nawgu, Anambra state, was reported to have been beaten, kicked, whipped, mutilated and decapitated in the presence of thousands of villagers on 9 November 2000. His hapless body was later doused with petrol and set ablaze. He was allegedly ‘found guilty’ by the vigilante group of aiding and abetting armed robbers.

On 9 May 2001, the Bakassi Boys announced the execution of 36 alleged robbers in Onitsha after having detained and tortured them for weeks in ‘Chukin Mansion’, the headquarters of the group in Onitsha market.[15] On 9 July 2001, the Bakassi Boys, ignoring the police request that the suspect be handed over, drove Okwudili Ndiwe, alias Derico, a notorious alleged criminal, to a popular market in Onitsha where his head was severed. On 11 August, eyewitnesses stated that eight people were dismembered and set ablaze in public at Lagos Motor Park, Sokoto Road, Upper Iweka, and other locations near Onitsha. Another 20 people were killed in similar circumstances in Nnewi and Okija between 25 and 30 November 2001.

As noted by the CLO, most of these killings were done with active connivance or collaboration of the federal police and the Anambra State Vigilante Service. In fact, more than 40 bodies were said to have been dumped in the Niger River in the presence of the police.[16] In Imo, one of the states that ‘invited’ the Bakassi Boys, the CLO reported that on 3 January 2001, the Bakassi Boys publicly executed an alleged criminal in front of the St. Paul’s Catholic Church, near Owerri main market. The victim was killed with machetes and the body was set ablaze. On the same day, another person was executed and incinerated in Oshishi (wood market) by the Bakassi Boys in Owerri.

Organizations such as the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), MASSOB and many other groups in the Niger-Delta are famous for hostage taking, kidnapping for ransom, pipeline vandalization, oil-theft, arson and ambush. Till date, more than two thousand oil workers, politicians, actors, children, and other important personalities have either been kidnapped or taken hostage. Initially, the groups and associations argued that kidnapping and hostage taking were introduced to force experts involved in crude oil exploration in the Niger-Delta areas to pressure Nigerian government to take decisive steps towards ameliorating the environmental, social and political problems bedeviling the area. More recently, the trends and patterns of hostage taking and kidnapping differ markedly from using it as proxies to get government attentions, as the groups focus more on the ransom paid to ensure release of the oil industry workers.

In January 2007, four foreign oil workers were abducted at a Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) location in Bayelsa State. In the early hours of Saturday February 18, Ijaw youth launched series of coordinated and devastating commando-like attacks on specifically selected and strategically located oil facilities and installations in western Niger Delta. In March of the same year, Ijaw youths took hostage another nine expatriate oil workers, while by April; thirteen expatriates were abducted in Port Harcourt alone. Altogether, more than five thousand foreigners, most of whom are from America, Britain, Thailand, Egypt, and the Philippines have been kidnapped and taken hostage by Niger-Delta groups. These actions of the youths signaled a new dimension in what is happening in the Niger-Delta, as the youths were ready to tell the world that the Nigerian Government has lost control over what is happening within its borders, most especially in the oil rich Niger Delta.

Since the beginning of 2008, kidnapping and hostage taking have ascended new heights. Many Nigerian politicians, university lectures, kings and their chiefs, musicians and movie industry workers have featured among the kidnapped. Anybody can be kidnapped. More often than not, kidnappers and hostage-takers hardly kill victims, although a number of deaths have been recorded. Whenever a person is kidnapped, the family, company or embassy of the country of the victim is notified and a price is placed on his or her head. Prices are quoted based on the worth of the victim. If a renowned personality with clouts in government or oil magnate or, better still children of any of these is kidnapped, the price is usually high. The former governor of the Central Bank, Prof. Charles C. Soludo’s father was released after a whopping 200 million naira was paid to kidnappers. Peter Edochie and Nkem Owoh, two of Nigeria’s famous movie stars, were only released after 20 million and 1.4 million naira were paid.[17]

The geography of kidnapping-for-ransom has also changed. From Niger-Delta to Lagos, Ibadan to Kaduna, Adamawa to Ekiti, different people – male and female, old and young, have been kidnapped in all these places. In addition, allowances are usually made for bargaining. Once agreement is reached and ransom is paid, the victim is released.

While the above groups pretend to being vigilance groups, others with no such pretentions abound. This includes Boko Haram, the Arab Movement of the Azawad and others who have expressed alliances with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Boko Haram, for instance, bombed St. Theresa’s Catholic Church outside Abuja on Christmas Day, killing at least 44 parishioners and injuring many others. On Easter, the group also arranged the suicide car bombing of a Protestant church that killed 39, again wounding dozens. A number of other Christian churches across northern Nigeria have been attacked. In April, the group attacked a building housing Nigeria’s major daily newspaper and two other newspapers, ostensibly because it objected to what it called inaccurate media reporting of its activities. No place is spared by Boko Haram. It attacked mosques, markets, the Nigeria Police Headquarters, United Nation’s Building and universities. Cars, rigged with improvised explosive devices, and suicide bombers either stormed target locations or gunmen open fire on targets. It is estimated that Boko Haram is responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 people since 2009.[18] For these groups, the rallying point is the introduction and implementation of the Shari’a law.[19]

Terrorism in Africa is not restricted to African issues alone, as Africans have responded to international issues as well. For example, from the 1970s, African states, some of which are members of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), took sides on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. This is best illustrated with the hijacking of a French Airbus from Athens to Kampala, Uganda, in 1976. Known as the Entebbe episode, it marked the first violent intrusion of the Arab-Israeli conflict in Eastern Africa, as well as reflecting a collaborative effort between the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Idi Amin’s Uganda. The hijacking ended when the Israeli Defence Forces, making use of Kenyan facilities, launched a rescue mission. By this time, Idi Amin invoked Islamic solidarity, thus embracing the Palestinian cause wholesale.[20]

The repercussions of the Entebbe episode included strained relations between Kenya and Uganda, the weakening of the Idi Amin regime, and a Palestinian-linked terrorist group bombing, in December 31, 1980, of the Norfolk Hotel, an Israeli-owned five-star hotel, in retaliation against the Kenyan government. In this attack, sixteen people were killed. On 7th August 1998, a car-bomb attack on the Embassy of the United States of America in Nairobi left 224 Kenyans and 12 Americans dead. More than 5,000 people, mostly Kenyans, were critically injured. Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, near Mombasa, was treated to a lorry-load of explosives on 2nd November 2002 by three suicide bombers.[21]

At the end of the terrorist attack, 12 Kenyans, 4 Israelis and the three suicide bombers laid dead. On this day and when the attack on the Paradise Hotel was still on-going, Arkia Israeli Airliner, with 264 people and crew on board, was targeted by Islamic fundamentalists using surface-to-air missile launcher after the airliner took off from the Mombasa airport. The two missiles missed the airliner. In addition, the hijacking of a Lufthansa flight heading for Mogadishu in October 1977 by a Palestinian group highlighted the reality that Africa was increasingly involved in the Middle Eastern-generated terrorism. This was confirmed by Libyan complicity in the mid-flight bombing of a UTA airliner over Niger in 1989 that killed 171 people.

In most West African states, international issues such as the above have always drawn considerable attention. In Nigeria, most Muslims expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause while Christians favoured Israelis cause. Nigeria’s membership of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) received open criticism and almost plunged the nation into religious war, especially as the OIC openly supported the Palestinian cause. Riots were recorded across northern Nigeria. Also across cities in Northern Nigeria, there were wild celebrations following the 9/11 terror attack on the USA while riots broke out over the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten’s Muhammad cartoons controversy of 2005. In addition, the Arab Spring, especially the developments in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt found resonance among Muslims in Nigeria. More recently, a splinter group from Boko Haram attacked and killed five Nigerian soldiers who were deployed in Mali.[22] The foregoing showed that Africa is not insulated to global development, as events in one part of the world resonate with peoples and groups across the continent.

From these cases, it can be seen that major differences existed between the three waves of terrorism in Africa. While the pre-independence nationalist forces were regarded as legitimate liberators, independence and post-independence government and guerrilla forces, many of which were supported by their own ethnic groups, did not enjoy the same level of legitimacy, even, amongst Africans. Unlike the nationalist liberation movements, which targeted colonial rule, independence and post-independence experiences show that Africans targeted Africans.


Between Greed and Grievance: Motivation for Terrorism in (West) Africa

From the above, it can be argued that agitation for autonomy and majority rule remain the critical factor for the manifestations of terrorism in West Africa during the colonial period. Issues ranging from religious intolerance and hatred for democracy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other global issues underlined contemporary manifestations of terrorism. These complex, dynamic layers of issues could be reduced into two: greed and grievance.

Although it has manifested in different forms, generally greed describes an obtuse fascination with opportunities for profitable preeminence while grievance describes objective ethnic and religious hatred, political repression and exclusion, as well as economic inequalities.[23] Depending on available opportunities for individuals and groups to express and achieve their objectives, greed and grievance can result in the deployment of unmitigated violence and horrendous terrorist actions.

Irrespective of whether in colonial or post independence periods, terrorism in West Africa have been driven by factors of greed and grievances. Colonial and white supremacist rule in Africa availed Imperial powers with opportunities for profitable preeminence (greed), while African nationalisms constituted objective grievances. Terrorism, characterized by incidences of kidnapping and hostage-taken for ransom, looting, vandalization of pipelines, etc., relates more to resource allocation and control and therefore tilts more toward greed rather than grievance. It must be admitted that objective grievances such as unemployment, economic crises, political repression and marginalization, environmental degradation, especially in the face of dwindling resources, etc oftentimes serve as rallying points for agitation; however, groups stated objectives are at variance with their activities – inferential objectives.

In so far as contemporary manifestation of terrorism yields opportunities for profits to individuals and groups, objective grievances cease to explain incidences of terrorism, rather greed does. In addition, individuals and groups cannot be seen as agitators and nationalists, but as bandits and thieves. Given differences between stated and inferential motives, greed and grievance cease to be competitive explanations for incidences of terrorism in West Africa; rather alternative interpretations of the same phenomenon or shades of the same problem.[24] Interpreted in this way, terrorism has become a kind of industry that generates profits from looting, rents, etc. so that agitators are not different from bandits or pirates. Hence, rebellion, conflicts, terrorism or wars cannot be explained by motive, as they are often disguised, but by atypical circumstances that generate profitable opportunities.

Thus, Boko Haram’s stated objective that Nigeria should adopt the Shari’a may well be the group’s stated objective, however, its inferential objectives can easily be gleaned through its acts – looting, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, etc. From this, it can be argued that terrorism in contemporary West Africa has assumed different motivations, i.e., grievance versus greed, and different explanations, i.e., atypical grievances versus atypical opportunities.

Glocalization of Terrorism in West Africa

A new trend in the constellation of terrorism in West Africa today is the tendencies for local terror groups to network with global terrorist groups. While the botched attempt by the Nigeria-born, UK/Yemen-trained Abdul Mutalab may have failed, it however signaled a more dangerous development in our understanding of terrorism. The event, while underscoring the existence of yet a potent force within radical Islam to recruit, train, and foment more terrorist activities, directly challenges the successes or failures of the anti-terrorism campaign. More than anything else, the development signals an increasing latitude between global terrorist networks and local elements in places hitherto unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For instance, counter terrorism measures embarked upon by Egypt led to a situation whereby a number of terror groups’ leaders and supporters fled Egypt to different location in Africa and the Middle East. From these bases, they not only supported myriad of causes, but also contributed to the establishment of transnational terror organizations across Africa and the Middle East.

This trend has spiked in recent times. A few months after the 9/11 terrorist attack, a group of religious extremists, the Muhajirun (the migrants), emerged in Northern Nigeria from neighboring Niger Republic. The aim of this group and their followers in Yobe State and Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, was to ensure the introduction of the Shari’a legal code. Although the Nigerian government crushed the activities of the group, Mallam Bello Ilyas Damagun, the Director of Media Trust Limited and publisher of the Daily Trust newspaper was, however, arrested and charged in court for alleged link to the al-Qaeda network. Mallam Damagun, prior to his arrest, had sent 14 young Nigerians to an Unmil Qurah Islamic Camp, a terrorist training camp in Mauritania. In addition, Damagun was said to have obtained money from al-Qaeda in Sudan. He also provided material assistance such as a ten-seater bus with registration number Kaduna AN 379 ANC and provided 30 public address systems for the organization in Maiduguri. In 2007, Mohammed Yusuf, the late leader of Boko Haram, was arrested and arraigned on a five-count charge of illegally receiving money and other resources from the Taliban in Niger Republic. Mohammed Asafa, from Kano, was also charged for receiving funds from al-Qaeda operatives to carry out terrorist attacks on Americans in Nigeria. Before his arrest, he had recruited and sent 21 fighters to the Salafis Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) in Algeria.[25]

The rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, the exploits of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the take-over by the Arab Movement of the Azawad in Mali, and other constellations of terrorist groups in West Africa in general have been linked to, among other things, the US-led global campaign on terrorism as well as to the fall of Gadhafi in Libya. Just as members of al-Jihad and al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya fled to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries to unite with others and stage bigger terror attacks on the US, so Islamic fundamentalists who were uprooted from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Gadhafi’s Libya were believed to have teamed together in different parts of West Africa and the Maghreb to continue their Jihads against real or perceived US interests.

Through networks of clandestine organizations, Asari Dokubo, a leader of one of Nigeria’s terrorist groups, procured resources for defraying cost of arms and ammunition as well as to purchase a facility in South Africa.[26] On the outward, these clandestine organizations and network of groups appear to be religious and devoted to religious causes, but, more often than not, their operational character was clandestine, covert, limited to members and was aimed at preventing infiltration from security forces and to stave-off public attention.

The local and global terrorist groups, as the examples have shown, serve one another. On the one hand, the local terrorist groups provide manpower for the global terrorist groups, who, on the other hand, contribute to the local groups by providing training and other resources. When national government fights terror with terror, local terrorist groups would seek and deploy terror as a measure to negotiate with the state. The more the local groups seek to increase their capacities to cope with state terrorism, the more they will gravitate towards transnational actors for the much needed resources such as training, equipment, etc. However this is viewed, the distilling of local terrorist groups into global ones, among other things, underscores a dichotomous and asymmetric view of local groups and their relationship with global groups. It also signals a global expansion of terror and gradual erosion of spatial constraints, which has now created new spaces for terrorists.


As the various examples used in this essay have shown, the current trend in the phenomenon of terrorism in West Africa derived from (i) the processes associated with Africa’s decolonization and liberation struggle; (ii) the inability of post-colonial states to relate to their citizens’ needs and aspirations as well as (iii) the global concerns, especially over religious ideals. As seen in the analysis, grievance and greed are the two variables underlying this process.

As the study found, owing to profitable opportunities, terrorism in Africa has assumed a new, unprecedented, and hitherto unanticipated dimension, a situation whereby local terrorist groups feed global terrorist organizations with man-power while deriving funding, training and other logistics through such relation(s). The more national government deploy terror to counter terror, the more local terror groups would tap into transnational or global terror groups for manpower development and other forms of support, thereby creating a dense landscape of terrorism. Networks of religious and other ideologies, which have proliferated in recent times in Africa, are disguises for local terrorist organizations to feed and link up with global terrorist networks. This local in the global has been described, in this essay as ‘glocalization’ of terrorism, a development that portends a serious danger for Africa and calls for immediate engagement by African leaders.

[1] Oyeniyi BA is a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Political Studies and Governance Department of the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.

[2] Hussein Solomon, “The Future of Azawad”, available at Accessed 27 February 2013.

[3] Oyeniyi Bukola Adeyemi, “The ‘Glocalization’ of Terrorism in Post-Colonial Africa”, in Toyin Falola, Maurice Amutabi and Sylvester Gundona (eds.), Africa After Fifty Years: Retrospections and Reflections, (USA: Africa World Press, 2013), 211-257.

[4] Oyeniyi, Ibid. 222.

[5] Oyeniyi Bukola Adeyemi, Mobility and Social Conflicts in Yorubaland, 1893-1983: A Socio-Historical Reinterpretation (Berlin, Germany: VDM Publishing House, 2010).

[6] Meredith, Ibid. 525.

[7] Oyeniyi Bukola Adeyemi, ‘Nigeria in the Organization of Islamic Conference,’ in Adekunle A. Julius (ed.), Religion in Politics: Secularism and National Integration in Modern Nigeria (New York: Africa World Press, 2009), 129.

[8] Oyeniyi, Ibid.  48.

[9] “Detention by vigilance groups illegal”, say police, The Guardian (Nigeria), 10 February 2001, 2 & 5.

[10] Oral Interview with detainees, March 2nd, 2002.

[11] Amnesty International, Nigeria: Vigilante violence in the south and south-east in Amnesty International Index: AFR 44/014/2002, New York, USA: United Nation’s Publication, 2001.

[12] Ibid, (New York, USA: Amnesty International), 2001.

[13] Ibid, (New York, USA: Amnesty International), 2001.

[14] Ibid, (New York, USA: Amnesty International), 2001.

[15] Agence France Presse, Des miliciens volontaires Nigérians exécutent 36 voleurs presumes, 30 May 2001.

[16] On 10 April 2002, an Amnesty International delegation witnessed members of the Anambra State Vigilante Service (AVS) trying to set alight a man inside the compound of the Government House of Anambra state, some 100 metres away from the state governor’s own office. The armed men were surrounding a man, apparently some 50 years of age. The man was on his knees, his arms tied behind his back and his face disfigured by recent beatings. He was bleeding profusely. Members of the vigilante service were shouting at the man, apparently insulting him. Then one of them poured petrol over the man’s body with the clear intention of setting him on fire. When they realised that strangers were watching the scene, they bundled their victim into a van, loaded the vehicle with machetes and guns, and drove away. The government of Anambra state refused to give an explanation for the incident and inform Amnesty International about the identity of the suspect and the treatment he received from the vigilante group after this incident.

[17] Oyeniyi Adeyemi Bukola, ‘Terrorism in Nigeria: Groups, Activities, and Politics’, in International Journal of Politics and Good Governance, Vol. 1, No. 1.1 Quarter I 2010.

[18] US Embassy, ‘Boko Haram Runs Rampant: A Concrete Example of Religious Persecution’, in Religious Liberty Attacked In Nigeria, USCCB Fact Sheet Summer 2012.

[19] Oyeniyi Bukola Adeyemi, Mobility and Social Conflicts in Yorubaland, 1893-1983: A Socio-Historical Reinterpretation (Berlin, Germany: VDM Publishing House, 2010), 1-16.

[20] Oyeniyi Bukola Adeyemi, ‘Nigeria in the Organization of Islamic Conference,’ in Adekunle A. Julius (ed.), Religion in Politics: Secularism and National Integration in Modern Nigeria (New York: Africa World Press, 2009), 132.

[21] Oyeniyi, Ibid. 142.

[22] Integrated Regional International Network News, ‘Islamists kill Nigerian Soldiers heading to Mali’, Available at (Accessed 27 February 2013).

[23] Collier Paul and Sambanis Nicholas, Understanding Civil War: Evidence and Analysis, Vol. 1 – Africa, (New York: World Bank, 2005).

[24] Collier and Sambanis, Ibid. 7.

[25] Oyeniyi, Ibid. 238.

[26] Oyeniyi, Ibid. 261.

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