Boko Haram’s vast Financing resources include up to $70 million from al Qaeda.
Tracking Terrorism How can Boko Haram afford to abduct 276 teenage girls? Unlike most militant groups, Boko Haram has assured itself of multiple sources of funds that not only fill its coffers with enough cash to conduct almost any attack of its choosing, but also hedges against being restricted if one or several sources of funds are interrupted. Boko Haram’s lines of funding include:
SUPPORT FROM AL QAEDA
Boko Haram’s financial links to al Qaeda Central Command (AQC) dates between 2000 and 2002 when Osama bin Laden issued two audio messages calling on Nigerian Muslims to wage jihad. During Bin Laden’s time in Sudan from 1992 to 1996, he met Mohammed Ali, a Nigerian who studied at the Islamic University in Khartoum. Bin Laden allegedly instructed Ali to organise an extremist cell in Nigeria and was given N 300 million ($3 million USD in 2000). Ali returned to Nigeria during 2002 and funded extremist groups of which Boko Haram was a major beneficiary.
Boko Haram links with AQC also dates to a Chadian extremist, Abu-Mahjin. Identified as acting as the intermediary between Boko Haram and al-Qaeda, Abu-Mahjin was known to have “limited ties to al-Qaeda associates,” and in 2009, on behalf of Boko Haram, contacted AQC for funds to facilitate attacks in Nigeria. Boko Haram started its terror campaign two months after the link was reported.
In August 2011, Boko Haram leaders met with senior al Qaeda leaders in Saudi Arabia during the pilgrimage to Mecca, with the intent to finalize both financial and logistical arrangements with AQC. Following the meeting, a Boko Haram spokesperson, Abu Qaqa, boasted of the new intimate relationship: “We enjoy financial and technical support from them (AQC). Anything we want from them we ask them.”
In 2012, a Nigerian intelligence report claimed that Boko Haram received a financial donation from an unidentified group in Algeria. According to the report, Boko Haram received a lump-sum cash support of N40 million ($265,000 USD) from an Algerian terrorist group. However, Boko Haram has since acquired many more outlets for soliciting cash.
Boko Haram’s lines of funding include:
- Support from al-Qaeda
- Extortion/Protection Money
- Cyber Scams, including online dating services
- Bank Robberies
- Pillaging from Nigerian Military
- Islamic Charities
- Oil Looting