Members of the Islamist group Boko Haram have received explosives training at al Qaeda camps in North Africa, Niger’s foreign minister has alleged.
Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the series of bombings in the North, may have also received training from Somalia’s al Shabaab insurgents, according to the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Mohamed Bazoum.
Bazoum spoke at a regional security summit in Mauritania’s capital on Tuesday.
He said, “There is no doubt that there is confirmed information that shows a link between Boko Haram and AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), and it consists primarily of the training given to elements of Boko Haram.
“One group has been received in AQIM bases here in the Sahel and another group got training, based on information we’ve gotten, with the Shabaabs in Somalia.”
Security analysts have said Boko Haram is unlikely to expand its focus beyond Nigeria, and has only limited ties to other insurgent groups.
But Bazoum said the evidence of training links between al Qaeda’s North African wing and Boko Haram required a unified regional security approach to combat the threat.
“Some of the bombers in Nigeria received training here in the Sahel. That’s why it seems important that we are with Nigeria and act together and share information,” he said.
Nigeria was represented at the summit alongside Mauritania, Mali, Niger, and Algeria – parts of Africa where al-Qaeda cells are known to operate.Boko Haram is loosely modelled on Afghanistan’s Taliban. It has claimed responsibility for bombing churches, police stations, military facilities, banks and beer parlours in the mainly North