NEW DELHI: Boko Haram is the latest dreaded outfit to slither into India. Riding on the back of the Nigerian drug syndicate, Dawood Ibrahim’s proximity with Al-Qaeda and his tentacles in India, the Nigerian outfit which recently triggered worldwide panic by abducting 276 schoolgirls, has penetrated the African drug-cartel operating in India, top Intelligence sources told The Sunday Standard.
The outfit dominates at least seven states of North-Eastern Nigeria and is said to have brutally killed 12,000 innocent people in the last 10 years to establish a global Islamic caliphate. Founded in 2002, the terrorist outfit is using its well-oiled network in Africa and West Asia for drug trafficking to finance it activities. Sources said the Nigerians in India have been under their scanner for drug pushing, but, now they are keeping an eye on the Nigerian militant outfit exploiting drug syndicates with inputs suggesting that some militants have already joined the network and are involved in narco-terrorism.
“They came on our radar after intelligence input from a friendly country indicated that Dawood Ibrahim’s younger brother Anees Ibrahim made several trips to Lagos last year and subsequently met an Al-Qaeda commander close to Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau. D-gang’s proximity with the two outfits indicates that militants are now riding on Dawood’s well-oiled network in India, Africa and South America to raise terror funds though drug trafficking,” sources added.
Dawood, according to a 2010 intelligence report, is procuring drugs from Al Qaeda and in return pumping in huge sums in training and procurement of weapons for hardened terrorists in Taliban controlled camps in Waziristan. Besides Lashkar-e-Taiyaba, Dawood is also financing Al Qaeda’s Indian version Al-Qaeda al-Hind (AQAH) to carry out terror activities.
Although a senior official refused to divulge the details on Boko Haram’s alleged infiltration arguing “it is too hot at the moment”, he indicated that the outfit must have smuggled some of its own cadres in India using D-gang’s well-established transit network in Africa and the Gulf. He said in the last three years, intelligence agencies trailed Nigerian cartels operating in Goa and Delhi. Around 900 modules were netted by the security agencies, but majority of them remain elusive. Last year, Goa government had initiated a crackdown on a Nigerian gang. Out of 51 arrested Nigerians, only one person had valid visa and passport. Rest were smuggled in using illegal routes.
“As per the latest intelligence input, around 2100 Nigerians are still missing. We have the information that they entered India using valid documents, but disappeared later. They remain untraceable. There is also an input that around 1,200 Nigerians sneaked in using illegal routes and could be involved in nefarious activities,” the official said.
Intelligence suggests that Boko Haram and Al Qaeda control the cocaine route in Central Africa. They facilitate smuggling to various destinations in Asia and Europe with the help of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) and other criminal networks. Intelligence agencies suspect that Goa and Delhi’s cocaine racket allegedly controlled by Nigerians is being protected and supported by D-gang as part of the tacit understanding with the Al Qaeda and the Nigerian outfit.
The agencies fear that Boko Haram, which literally means ‘western education is sin’ may intensify narco-terrorism to fuel the terror matrix. The outfit known for its brutal method to neutralise non-believers is said to have also raised a fidayeen (suicide) unit to carry out mayhem. Last month, a female suicide bomber of Boko Haram blew herself up near a gas station in Appa district killing several innocent people.
“Such foreign outfits have limited means to strike in unknown territories on their own but definitely they pose a serious threat due to safe haven provided by forces inimical to the country’s interest. The crackdown on Nigerian drug cartel is necessary. India had earlier avoided it due to complex diplomatic issues,” Intelligence sources said.
The Islamist terrorist outfit shot to global limelight after it recently abducted 276 school girls from Chibok to sell them in sexual slavery market in Chad and Cameroon. The outfit was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf to establish a pure Islamic state that would be ruled by Sharia, cleansing non-believers from the face of earth.
Yusuf allegedly received weapons and money from Al Qaeda commander Osama Bin Laden to wage Jihad against western forces and westernised education. The outfit soon took to cocaine smuggling and kidnapping to generate money for its terror activities. The entire central Africa’s cocaine route which supplies to Asia and Europe is controlled by the Boko Haram, making it one of the largest Islamist terror outfits with absolute control of the cocaine racket.
The outfit is known for systematically targeting schools in Borno and Yobe states of Nigeria and said to have eliminated over 170 school teachers for defying Sharia. After Boko Haram chief Yusuf was killed in sectarian violence in 2009, his deputy Abubakar Shekau took control and is said to have orchestrated deadly attacks against Nigerian army and Christians in Northern Nigeria. Nicknamed “beast”, Shekau, 43, confessed to have enjoyed killing of innocents as he enjoys killing chickens.