Senegalese woman is at the center of alleged terror financing: Prosecutors

Boko Haram’s regional terror sect

PARIS, France ––Reports from Dakar says the wife of a Senegalese man accused of fighting alongside Boko Haram has admitted in court on Wednesday to handling large movements of cash that prosecutors said came from the head of a Nigerian jihadist group.

Thirty-four years old Coumba Niang is one of the two wives of Makhtar Diokhane, the chief defendant in the trial of 29 people including three women accused of terrorist conspiracy, financing terrorism, and money laundering.

Before Diokhane left for Nigeria, he “gave me money that I didn’t count,” Niang said, adding that she gave the money to associates of her husband as instructed.

Ibrahima Diallo, a co-defendant, said she had given him 22,000 euros ($27,000) when he returned to Senegal from Nigeria.

Prosecutors said a raid of Niang’s home had turned up 14,500 euros in 500-euro bills as well as “documents related to jihad”.

The papers gave details of “techniques and strategies for fighting and destabilizing a state”, “techniques for abduction and killing”.

Prosecutors said they also found books “legitimizing summary executions”.

The prosecution team says Niang told investigators that Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau had given money to her husband, but she did not confirm the assertion in court.

Some money was for Diokhan’es collaborators and some “to finance work that was to be done in Senegal”, said prosecutor Ali Cire Ndiaye.

The defendants are accused of wanting to set up a jihadist base in Senegal.

Intelligence sources say Diokhane was with Boko Haram in Nigeria before his arrest in 2015 in neighboring Niger in a counterfeiting case, then transferred to Senegal.

Known for its religious tolerance, Senegal is more than 90 percent Muslim but the new wave of Islamic insurgents poses a serious threat to the country.

Senegal has so far been spared from the jihadist attacks that have plagued other West African countries including Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria where Boko Haram has taken a serious foothold.

Boko Haram, a militant movement opposed to Western influence and seeking an Islamic state based on Sharia law, has caused the deaths of at least 20,000 people since it took up arms in 2009 in Nigeria.

International intelligence says Liberia and Sierra Leone remain two prime targets vulnerable to the invasion of terror groups that want to impose Sharia Law on both countries or install Muslim leadership to implement Sharia Law.

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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