Who Are Boko Haram's Collaborators Inside And Outside Nigeria?
It's been almost a month since the Nigerian teenage girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14.
It's very disturbing that the kidnappers have not given any indication that the schoolgirls, reportedly taken while sitting regional exams, have not been harmed and that they are in fact alive.
(Boko Haram later released a video saying to show at least 130 of the kidnapped girls).
How are the girls being provided for in captivity? How was the kidnapping planned and prepared? Were provisions stocked? What were the sources? After all, if Boko Haram intended to keep them alive they must have stored food, water, and some level of medical care? How were Boko Haram's vehicles and fuel procured? How do you drive off trucks into the forests?
Can all these be accomplished without official collaboration?
If Boko Haram wanted the more than 200 girls dead they would have all been shot or burned inside the school building that was reportedly razed to the ground. Boko Haram have been accused of several other attacks in which the victims were all killed. Reportedly as many as 1,500 people have been killed this year.
The kidnapping of the girls appear to have been a departure from Boko Haram's modus operandi.
As a result many questions have been raised in Nigeria and by outsiders.
Even up to now many Nigerians are skeptical that so many girls could have been taken with such relative ease. Even President Goodluck Jonathan himself seemed to have questioned the initial accounts, and was seen dancing at a political rally the day after the attack, according to media reports. He reportedly didn't make a statement for weeks.
Then again maybe it's incompetence.
Was Boko Haram assisted from some quarters in carrying out their operation against the Chibok school girls? Reportedly there was no response by the political leadership or security forces for more than two weeks.
This is abnormal and sounds incredible by any standard.
Are there elements within Nigeria's security agencies and armed forces that oppose the government of President Goodluck Jonathan and are sympathetic to Boko Haram's attacks in order to undermine his authority by making him appear weak and ineffective?
This is not an unrealistic question.
The attack occurred in Nigeria's northeast region and there are some politicians in the northern part of the country who oppose President Jonathan's plans to run again in next year's presidential elections.
Nigeria has a delicate political balance. There is an unwritten rule for the presidency to rotate between a politician from the mostly Muslim north and the mostly Christian south.
The country still is trying to outlive the experience of an horrific civil war in the 1960s and early 1970s that was partly sparked by the killings of some leaders from the north and counter-killings and then the Biafra region's failed secession.
Jonathan first became president in 2010 when President Umaru Yar'Adua, who hailed from the north died of an illness and he was elevated from the vice presidency. Jonathan went on to win a full term in presidential elections in 2011.
He plans to run again next year. But some politicians from the north oppose his plans and have even declared that there will be violence if he runs. Those who oppose Jonathan say that since he completed Yar'Adua's presidential term, and is now completing a second term, he's had his two terms and should now let the presidency revert to someone from the north.
This is one of the hidden stories that could become the big story next year.
Some Jonathan political opponents may have colluded with Boko Haram in some of their past attacks by not sending out security forces to counter them; and in the attack on the school girls in Chibok.
Nigeria has one of the biggest and most powerful militaries in all of Africa. Nigerian forces were instrumental in ending civil wars in Liberia and in Sierra Leone. It provided the bulk of forces for a West African regional army called Ecomog. They routed rebel forces and are therefore experienced in both conventional and counter-insurgency war.
Yet Boko Haram, whose operations have mostly been in the northern part of Nigeria, seem to operate with impunity.
It's true that it's almost impossible to stop suicide bombers who conceal the explosives on his or her body and then detonate in a crowded area with innocent civilians. But many of Boko Harams attacks have been openly brazen, including the attack on the school, lasting for sustained periods.
It defies credulity to believe that Nigeria's top notch military could not have engaged and destroyed Boko Haram during some of these attacks if the army and political leadership was operating on the same page.
Did some of Jonathan's opponents support Boko Haram never suspecting that one of its operations would one day erupt on the global headlines as has the Chibok schoolgirls' case?
Still unfully explored are Boko Haram's sources for arms and financing from inside and outside Nigeria.
Much has also been made as to why the U.S. did not designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization until December 2012. There are reports that some Nigerians and outsiders opposed the designation since Boko Haram's leaders were engaged in peace talks with the authorities. They reportedly walked off after the designation.
Reports that the U.S. and U.K. have now sent assets to work with the Nigerians to counter Boko Haram could also play right into their hands and of global jihadists who are always in search of new frontlines, especially now that the Syrian regime seems to have become a tough one to crack.
There are bigger back stories on Boko Haram that have yet to emerge on the frontpages.