LAGOS (AFP) – One of Nigeria’s most powerful Muslim leaders, the emir of Kano, has expressed optimism that the Boko Haram insurgency which has claimed some 13,000 lives will soon be over.
“I say help is on the way. Terror must and will be defeated,” Muhammad Sanusi II tweeted late Saturday. “All it requires is the good leaders, uncommon courage and unrelenting determination, and victory will be ours.”
Sanusi, Nigeria’s second most powerful Islamic leader, was presumably referring to the emergence of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari as the candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress in next year’s presidential election.
Buhari will challenge President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party for the country’s top job on February 14.
“We will together see the end of them and their reign of terror,” Sanusi said.
Sanusi became emir earlier this year after being sacked from his post as the central bank governor, where he was one of the government’s most high-profile critics.
Last month, he voiced support for vigilantes fighting Boko Haram in the volatile northeast, urging others to form civilian militias and questioning the competence of the military to end the five-year-old insurgency.
On November 28, a week after the comments, gunmen with explosives attacked the mosque near Sanusi’s palace during Friday prayers and killed at least 120 people and wounded 270.
The emir was out of the country at the time but many believed he was the target because of his criticisms of the conservative sect, which says it wants to impose a strict Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.