NYU Black Renaissance Noire Spring 2015 - Page 161

Ultimately, Yusuf and the late Adam became archenemies, spewing verbal attacks on each other’s views and interpretations of Islamic tenets. Adam was vociferous in exposing what he described as the folly of Yusuf ’s views on western education and the ‘jihad’ whose advocate he [Yusuf ] had become. He also warned against the indoctrination of impressionable minds. These opposing views quite naturally degenerated into violence. Twice Yusuf ’s disciples reportedly made failed attempts on Adam’s life in Maiduguri. Yusuf would later be paid in his own coin when some of his lieutenants also became more radical, claiming he had become too soft in his approach and thus splitting from his camp to form a splinter group they named Taliban. BRN-SPRING-2015.indb 159 This attack caused the group to keep a low profile for a year, but by then the activities of Yusuf had attracted the attention of security agencies, which on several occasions arrested and charged him to court. But his lawyers always managed to secure freedom for him. A few months later, the splinter group re-emerged and launched attacks on some police stations in Bama and Gwoza in Borno State, where they killed policemen, including an assistant police commissioner, carted away guns and ammunition before running into the Mandara mountains on the border with Cameroon. The army was sent in, accompanied by helicopters. They engaged the sect members in a mountainous battle, and in the process, scores of the attackers were killed while the rest crossed the border into Cameroon. The Nigerian government alerted the Cameroonian authorities, whose gendarmes succeeded in arresting five of the militants and handed them over to Nigeria. Following that encounter, Yusuf felt he had lost committed members of his group, who were gradually becoming hostile towards him for what they perceived as his weakness and moderate views. In mid 2005, he made overtures for reconciliation to the splinter group, and there was some reintegration. After this, Yusuf rose from a poor preacher to a wealthy cleric living in opulence and driving suvs around the city, where he was hailed as a hero for his criticism of the government and his call for sharia law. His preachings — recorded on cds — which he daily doled out, were hot cake in the city and beyond, selling in thousands. In April 2007, on the eve of the general elections in the country, some unidentified men stormed Jaafar Adam’s mosque in Dorayi, a suburb of Kano city, at dawn and fatally shot him and three other worshipers while he was leading the morning prayers. The attack was later followed with an invasion of a mobile police detachment in Panshekara neighbourhood, during which 13 policemen were killed. Soldiers were drafted to the area, and the gunmen eventually crossed the Challawa River, behind the abandoned water works they camped in, and fled. BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE His initial followership was largely from among secondary school students and primary school pupils who abandoned their studies on the ground that western education (‘boko’) was a sin (‘haram’), hence the name Boko Haram. As he got more followers, his power and influence also grew. In September 2004, the group launched an armed uprising from a village called Kanamma in Yobe State on the border with Niger Republic; they had renamed the village Afghanistan. They attacked