Attack in France vs Attacks in Nigeria: What we know

What do we know about the attacks in France?

Who is responsible?

Image: Cherif and Said Kouachi, two of the accused in the Paris attack.

Cherif and Said Kouachi, who have been dubbed "The Kouachi brothers" claimed they were acting on behalf of the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda (AQAP). But experts have said that it is highly unlikely that Islamic State and al-Qaeda, rivals in the Middle East, would plan an attack together.

Who leads this group?

The group was founded by Osama Bin Laden, Muhammad Atef and others. From in or about 1989 until the present, the group called itself "al Qaeda" meaning "The Base" with it's headquarters in Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan.

How do they fight for their cause?

Characteristic techniques employed by al-Qaeda include suicide attacks and the simultaneous bombing of different targets. As Salafist jihadists, they believe the killing of civilians is religiously sanctioned, and they ignore any aspect of religious scripture which might be interpreted as forbidding the murder of civilians and internecine fighting.

What else are they responsible for?

Al-Qaeda has been linked to attacks on civilians around the world, including September 11, the 2002 Bali bombings and the 1998 US Embassy bombings.

How many people were killed in this attack?

A total of 17 people were killed in the recent attacks in France, 12 at the Charlie Hedbo offices and 4 people at a Jewish grocery store. In both incidents people were held hostage.

Missing Pieces

EWN reports that suspected female accomplice, Hayat Boumeddiene (26), of Islamist militants behind the attacks crossed into Syria on 8 January from Turkey. Those dates would put Boumeddiene in Turkey before the violence in Paris began, and leaving for Syria while the attackers were still on the loose.

Image: Fourth suspect in the Paris attacks, Hayat Boumeddiene (26).

For a short history and more information on Al-Qaeda you can read up here.

What do we know about the attacks in Nigeria?

Who claimed responsibility?

While no-one has claimed responsibility for the two suicide bombings that took place in Nigeria this weekend, Boko Haram are the main suspects. Boko Haram is a militant Islamist group based in north-east Nigeria that acts in neighbouring countries: Chad, Cameroon and Niger as well.

Who leads this group?

The group is led by Abubakar Shekau and membership has been estimated to number between a few hundred and a few thousand. He served as deputy leader to the group's founder, Mohammed Yusuf, until Yusuf was killed in 2009. His nickname is “Darul Tawheed”, which translates as a specialist in tawheed, the Islamic concept of oneness of Allah.

How do they fight for their cause?

Boko Haram has attacked police, schools, churches and bombed government buildings. The weekend's attempt was the fourth suicide attack on the city's market since last July. This news comes after reports that hundreds of people were killed last week during the capture by Boko Haram of the town of Baga in Borno state. Boko Haram famously kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April 2014. As a response to that action the #BringBackOurGirls global campaign was launched. They remain missing.

What else are they responsible for?

Boko Haram is responsible for the death of over 900 people, since they started terrorizing villages in northern Nigeria in 2009. Their most famous incident was the 2014 Chibok kidnapping, where 16 were killed/missing and 234 girls kidnapped from the only girls' secondary school.

How many were killed in this attack?

On Sunday, two female suicide attackers killed four people and injured more than 40 people in the town of Potiskum, Nigeria. A day earlier, another young female suicide bomber, reported to be 10 years old, struck the main city of north-east Nigeria, Maiduguri, killing at least 19 people.


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