|Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Lands
|Participant in the Boko Haram insurgency|
Motto: “Jihad Fi Sabilillah”
(English: "Struggle for the cause of Allah")
|Leaders||Khalid al-Barnawi (POW)
Abu Jafa’ar (Spokesman)
|Area of operations||Northern Nigeria|
|Part of||Al-Qaeda(covertly from 2013)|
|Originated as||Boko Haram|
|Allies||Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
|Battles and wars||Boko Haram insurgency|
Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Lands (Arabic: جماعة أنصار المسلمين في بلاد السودان Jamāʿatu Anṣāril Muslimīna fī Bilādis Sūdān), better known as Ansaru or Al Qaeda in the Lands Beyond the Sahel, is an Islamist jihadist militant organisation based in the northeast of Nigeria. It is a splinter group of the larger Boko Haram organisation, founded in January 2012, and reportedly has more of an international focus than the latter. As of 2013, the group stopped addressing itself as Al Qaeda in the lands beyond the Sahel, and changed its name to Ansaru.
In the group's first statement, released on the Internet in January 2012, its leader, Abu Usmatul al-Ansari (nom de guerre of Khalid al-Barnawi) described Boko Haram actions as "inhuman to the Muslim Ummah". Ansari also praised the Sokoto Caliphate and its founder, Usman dan Fodio. In March 2012,the group released a statement, naming itself Al Qaeda in the Lands Beyond the Sahel, claiming responsibility for the murder of an Italian tourist. In another Internet video released by the group in June 2012, al-Ansari claimed that the group would not kill innocent non-Muslims or security officials, except in "self defense" and that the group would defend the interests of Islam and Muslims not just in Nigeria but the whole of Africa. Unlike Boko Haram, which is based in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, Ansaru operates in and around Kano State in north-central Nigeria, the heartland of the Hausa-Fulani peoples.
The group reportedly coordinates its operations with the northern Mali-based al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa. Ansaru is designated as a proscribed terrorist organization by New Zealand and the UK Home Office.
Several of Ansaru’s commanders were reported as returning to Boko Haram over 2013.
Claimed and alleged attacks
Attacks that Ansaru has claimed responsibility for include a prison break at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad headquarters in Abuja in November 2012, a January 2013 attack on a convoy of Nigerian troops on their way to participate in the conflict against Jihadist groups in Northern Mali and a 23 May 2013 attack on a French-owned uranium mine in Niger in cooperation with Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
The group has carried out a number of kidnappings in Nigeria, including the May 2011 abductions of a Briton and an Italian from Kebbi State, the December 2012 kidnapping of a French engineer, Francis Collomp, in Katsina State and the February 2013 kidnapping of seven foreigners from a construction site in Bauchi State. Collomp escaped in November 2013. Ansaru executed the hostages taken in both May 2011 and February 2013 following what it said were failed rescue attempts by the British and Nigerian governments.
- "Khalid al-Barnawi: Nigeria Islamist group head 'arrested'". BBC News.
- "Ansaru: A Profile of Nigeria’s Newest Jihadist Movement". Jamestown Foundation. 10 January 2013.
- "Jihadist divisions grow in Nigeria". Long War Journal. 23 February 2015.
Kambar was killed in 2012, however, and Barnawi (also known as Abu Usama al Ansari) then assumed the number one position.
- Chothia, Farouk (19 February 2013). "Profile: Who are Nigeria's Ansaru Islamists?". BBC News.
- "ABU USMATUL AL-ANSARI ANNOUNCES BOKO HARAM BREAKAWAY FACTION". Jamestown Foundation. 30 June 2012.
- "Boko Haram: Reversals and Retrenchment". Combating Terrorism Center. 29 April 2013.
- "Boko Haram : Splinter group, Ansaru emerges". Vanguard Newspaper. 1 February 2013.
- "Islamists Ansaru claim attack on Mali-bound Nigeria troops: paper". Reuters. 20 January 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-02-02.
- "Lists associated with Resolution 1373". New Zealand Police. 20 July 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- List of Proscribed Terrorist Groups Home Office of the British government Archived February 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Nigerian al-Qaedaism". Hudson Institute. 27 January 2014.
- e-TF1. "TF1 video". Lci.tf1.fr. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- "Ansaru: new threat in restive northern Nigeria". AFP. 18 February 2013.
- "Frenchman escaped 11 months captivity in Nigeria". Yahoo News. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- "Islamist group says executes seven foreign hostages, Nigeria doubts report". Reuters. 9 March 2013.
- Onuoha, Freedon. "Jama'atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan: Nigeria’s Evolving Militant Group" (PDF). Al Jazeera. Retrieved 4 May 2013.