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Con Coughlin: Al-Qa'ida has turned its African safe haven into top terror threat

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Victim Chris McManus and (above) a local man walks through a blood-spattered doorway at the scene of the ill-fated
attempt to rescue the hostages in Nigeria

Victim Chris McManus and (above) a local man walks through a blood-spattered doorway at the scene of the ill-fated attempt to rescue the hostages in Nigeria

Victim Chris McManus and (above) a local man walks through a blood-spattered doorway at the scene of the ill-fated attempt to rescue the hostages in Nigeria

Few outside Nigeria noticed the death of Mohammed Yusuf, a radical preacher, at the hands of the country's famously brutal police almost three years ago. The only achievement of a man who had publicly insisted that the Earth was flat appeared to have been the creation of a quixotic Islamist cult dedicated to banning Western education.

Today, Boko Haram -- Yusuf's creation -- has become one of the deadliest terrorist movements in North Africa and the chosen vehicle for al-Qa'ida to penetrate the largely Muslim states of northern Nigeria. The ideology of global jihad would have inspired those who kidnapped Chris McManus and Franco Lamolinara, the British and Italian hostages who died in the failed rescue mission on Thursday.


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