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Feb 25, 2013 | 16:40 GMT

Kidnappings and Attacks in Nigeria and Cameroon

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Kidnappings and Attacks in Nigeria and Cameroon

Since mid-February, 14 foreigners have been kidnapped in northern Nigeria and Cameroon in two separate attacks. No group has claimed responsibility for the second attack, which occurred Feb. 19 in Cameroon, but the location is adjacent to Boko Haram's core territory in northeast Nigeria. Ansaru, a splinter group of Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the first attack and could be responsible for the second since, unlike Boko Haram, it has a history of kidnapping foreign nationals. Boko Haram's capabilities in 2012 were limited to soft targets near the group's base of operations in northeastern Nigeria. Ansaru has emerged over the past year and appears to have surpassed Boko Haram in its range of tactics and targets. Ansaru has relied on armed attacks and kidnappings rather than suicide bombings. Ansaru's targets have included foreigners and those involved with the intervention in Mali, while Boko Haram's targets have been Nigerian. Nearly all of the Ansaru attacks since December 2012, as well as the unclaimed kidnapping in Cameroon, have targeted French nationals or those supporting French operations in Mali. This has raised the fear that widespread kidnappings will be the fallout from the Mali intervention. A continuation of this violence could harm foreign interests in Nigeria and surrounding countries and strengthen militant jihadism throughout the region.

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