A new report in The Guardian of London says slain Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, had regular contact with Nigerian militant sect, Boko Haram, before he was killed on May 2, 2011.
The information was gleaned from documents recovered from the house where bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan by United States Navy Seals.
A Washington D.C source familiar with the documents told the paper bin Laden appeared to have been in direct or indirect communication with Boko Haram as well as many other militant outfits.
But the paper said it remained unclear whether Boko Haram, which has been responsible for a series of suicide attacks and bombings in the last year, is in touch with al-Qaeda or one of its affiliates, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.
But documents in the cache show that leaders of the Nigerian group had been in contact with top levels of al-Qaeda in the past 18 months – confirming claims made to the Guardian in January by a senior Boko Haram figure.
A Boko Haram spokesman had boasted after the attacks on Police Headquarters in Abuja last year that the group had just trained a generation of suicide bombers in Somalia in what was seen then as a direct link to al-Shaabab, a Somali terrorist group aligned to al-Qaeda.
Boko Haram is also believed to be working with Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), based in Algeria.
Other papers in the haul are now likely to be declassified, the paper says. They include memos apparently dictated by bin Laden urging followers to avoid indiscriminate attacks which kill Muslims and pondering a rebranding of al-Qaeda under a new name.
The documents include memos stating broad strategic aims but little “hands-on” planning, according to sources.
The papers also show a close working relationship between top al-Qaeda leaders and Mullah Omar, the overall commander of the Taliban, including frequent discussions of joint operations against Nato forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan government and targets in Pakistan.
The communications show a three-way conversation between bin Laden, his then deputy Ayman Zawahiri and Omar, who is believed to have been in Pakistan since fleeing Afghanistan after the collapse of his regime in 2001.
They indicate a “very considerable degree of ideological convergence,” the source told The Guardian.