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Monday, 7 July 2014

The Emergence And The Truth Behind Boko Haram (VIDEOS)

The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad (Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad), known by its Hausa name Boko Harām (figuratively meaning "Western education is sin"), is a terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria, north Cameroon and Niger.



Founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, the organization seeks to establish a "pure" Islamic state ruled by sharia, putting an end to what it deems Westernization.

Violence linked to the Boko Harām insurgency has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths between 2002 and 2013. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2014 claimed that Boko Harām attacks have left at least 12,000 people dead and 8,000 people crippled.

The group exerts influence in the northeastern Nigerian states of Borno, Adamawa, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe and Kano. In this region, a state of emergency has been declared. The group does not have a clear structure or evident chain of command and has been called "diffuse" with a "cell-like structure" facilitating factions and splits.

It is reportedly divided into three factions with a splinter group known as Ansaru. The group's main leader is Abubakar Shekau. Its weapons expert, second-in-command and arms manufacturer was Momodu Bama.

The Boko Harām leadership has international connections to Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Qa'ida core, Al-Shabab, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s factions, and other militant groups outside Nigeria.

Attacks by the group on international targets have so far been limited. On 13 November 2013 the United States government designated the group a terrorist organization.

On 22 May 2014, the United Nations Security Council added Boko Harām to its list of designated al-Qaeda entities, bringing "funding, travel and weapons sanctions" against the terrorist group.

Many of the group's senior radicals were reportedly partially inspired by the late Islamic preacher known as Maitatsine.

Others believe that the group is motivated by inter-ethnic disputes as much as by religion, and that its founder Yusuf believed that a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” was being waged by Plateau State governor Jonah Jang against the Hausa and Fulani people.

Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian government of human rights abuses after 950 suspected Boko Harām militants died in detention facilities run by Nigeria's military Joint Task Force in the first half of 2013.[29] The conflicts have left around 90,000 people displaced.

Founded

The group has officially adopted the Arabic name "جماعة أهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد" (Jamā'at ahl as-sunnah li-d-da'wa wa-l-jihād), which can be translated as "the Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad" or "The Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Struggle".

In the town of Maiduguri, where the group was formed, the residents dubbed it Boko Harām. The term "Boko Harām" comes from the Hausa word boko, which is originally derived from a Hausa word with meanings such as "fraud" and "inauthenticity", and the Arabic word harām figuratively meaning "sin" (literally, "forbidden").

Loosely translated, the name could mean "Western education is sinful", which would symbolize its strong opposition to anything relating to Western civilization, which it sees as corrupting Muslims.

Locals who speak the Hausa language are also unsure what it actually means.
Literally speaking, the name may be meant to convey the message that "bogus education is sinful".

Dr Ahmad Murtada of the Islamic Studies Department, University of Bayero, Kano has noted in his research of the group that the name of the movement should not be understood literally from the Hausa, but rather as meaning "traversing the Western system of education is harām".

As has been noted by Dan Murphy’s exhaustive research in his recent article for the Christian Science Monitor, and also commented on by the Somali-born women's rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her piece in the Wall Street Journal, a more accurate translation of Boko Harām would be “Non-Moslem Teaching is Forbidden.” In 2014, Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan dubbed Boko Harām as "al-Qaeda in West Africa".

Ideology

Boko Harām was founded as a local Salafi movement and turned into a Salafi-jihadi group in 2009. It proposes that interaction with the Western world is forbidden, and also supports opposition to the Muslim establishment and the government of Nigeria.

The members of the group do not interact with the local Muslim population and have carried out assassinations in the past of anyone who criticizes it, including Muslim clerics.

In a 2009 BBC interview, Mohammed Yusuf, then leader of the group, stated his belief that the fact of a spherical Earth is contrary to Islamic teaching and should be rejected, along with Darwinian evolution and the fact of rain originating from water evaporated by the sun.

Before his death, Yusuf reiterated the group's objective of changing the current education system and rejecting democracy. Nigerian academic Hussain Zakaria told BBC News that the controversial cleric had a graduate education and spoke proficient English.

Boko Haram also disapproves of sports like football (believing it to be unIslamic), a view that has led them to bomb at least one open-air match broadcast.

Dr Ahmad Murtada of the Islamic Studies Department, University of Bayero, Kano has noted in his research into Mohammed Yusuf and Boko Harām that the core principles of the group are: an emphasis on 'Hakimiyyah' [sovereignty to God's law]; a belief that they are the "Saved Sect" mentioned in the Prophetic Tradition of Islam; prohibiting studying in Western educational centers of learning because they consider them to be based on non-Islamic traditions and colonialism, they thus criticize Saudi Arabia for its usage of "Western" educational methods; prohibiting working in any governmental institution or civil service role; an interpretation of the edicts of scholars from the classical tradition such as Ibn Taymiyyah to support their rebellions and use of violence. Influences include the writings of Ibn Abi Zayd, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, Shaykh al-Albani, and Shaykh Fawzan. Post-2009 a close relationship with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and further incorporation into the global Jihadi and Takfiri worldview.[32]

Criticism

Nigeria

Several Nigerian Muslim authorities condemned the group and its ideology. Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, the Niger State governor said, "Islam is known to be a religion of peace and does not accept violence and crime in any form" and that Boko Harām does not represent Islam. The Sultan of Sokoto Sa'adu Abubakar, a spiritual leader of Nigerian Muslims, has called the sect "anti-Islamic" and, as reported by the website AllAfrica.com, "an embarrassment to Islam".

The Coalition of Muslim Clerics in Nigeria (CMCN) have called on the Boko Harām to disarm and embrace peace.

Organisations

The Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, the Muslim Council of Britain, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Council on American Islamic Relations have all condemned the group's actions.

Middle East and Asia

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh, a Sunni Islam cleric, has described Boko Harām as misguided and intent on smearing the name of Islam. Iranian Shia Islam jurisprudent Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi has denied any relationship between the Nigerian group and Islam. He has described the group as "savages who do not deserve to be called human beings".

The Indonesian Ulema Council in The Jakarta Post condemned the group stating that "[Boko Harām] is not on the right path and contradicts Islamic values". Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in Cairo Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb maintains that "the actions by Boko Harām are pure terrorism, with no relation to Islam" and criticizes them for using religion to justify their nefarious activities which "completely contradict Islam and its principles of tolerance."

History

Background

Before colonisation and subsequent annexation into the British Empire, the Bornu Empire ruled the territory where Boko Harām is currently active. It was a sovereign sultanate run according to the principles of the Constitution of Medina, with a majority Kanuri Muslim population. The Bornu Sultanate emerged after the overthrow of the Kanem-Bornu Empire ruled by the Sayfawa dynasty for over 2000 years.

The Bornu Sultanate of the Kanuri is distinct from the Sokoto Caliphate of the Hausa/Fulani established in 1802 by the military conquest of Usman dan Fodio Both the Bornu Sultanate and Sokoto Caliphate came under control of the British in 1903.

During this period Christian missionaries used western education as a tool for evangelism, which has led to secular education to being viewed with suspicion by many in the local population.


Increased dissatisfaction gave rise to many fundamentalists among the Kanuri and other peoples of northeast Nigeria. One of the most famous such fundamentalists was Mohammed Marwa, also known as Maitatsine, who was at the height of his notoriety during the 1970s and 1980s.

He was sent into exile by the Nigerian authorities, refused to believe Muhammad was the Prophet and instigated riots in the country, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. Some analysts view Boko Harām actions as an extension of the Maitatsine riots.

Origin

In 1995, the group was said to be operating under the name Shabaab, Muslim Youth Organization with Mallam Lawal as the leader. When Lawal left to continue his education, Mohammed Yusuf took over leadership of the group. Yusuf’s leadership allegedly opened the group to political influence and popularity.

The group was originally established at Ibn Taymiyyah mosque, which was named after Boko Harām's spiritual head.

Yusuf officially founded the group in 2002 in the city of Maiduguri with the aim of establishing a Shari'a government in Borno State under then-Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.

He established a religious complex that included a mosque and a school where many poor families from across Nigeria and from neighbouring countries enrolled their children.

The center had ulterior political goals and soon it was also working as a recruiting ground for future jihadis to fight the state.

The group includes members who come from neighbouring Chad and Niger and speak only Arabic.
In 2004 the complex was relocated to Yusuf's home state of Yobe in the village Kanamma near the Niger border.

Beginning of violence

The group conducted its operations more or less peacefully during the first seven years of its existence (with an exception of some skirmishes in Kannama in 2004).

That changed in 2009 when the Nigerian government launched an investigation into the group's activities following reports that its members were arming themselves.

Prior to that the government reportedly repeatedly ignored warnings about the increasingly militant character of the organization, including that of a military officer.

In the wake of the 2009 crackdown on its members and its subsequent reemergence, the growing frequency and geographical range of attacks attributed to Boko Harām have led some political and religious leaders in the north to the conclusion that the group has now expanded beyond its original religious composition to include not only Islamic militants, but criminal elements and disgruntled politicians as well.

 For instance Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima said of Boko Harām: “[they have] become a franchise that anyone can buy into. It's something like a Bermuda Triangle.” The group has also forcibly converted non-Muslims to Islam.

When the government came into action, several members of the group were arrested in Bauchi, sparking deadly clashes with Nigerian security forces which led to the deaths of an estimated 700 people.

During the fighting with the security forces Boko Harām fighters reportedly "used fuel-laden motorcycles" and "bows with poison arrows" to attack a police station. The group's founder and then leader Mohammed Yusuf was killed during this time while in police custody. After Yusuf's killing, a new leader emerged whose identity was not known at the time.

Reemergence

After the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, the group carried out its first attack in Borno in January 2011. It resulted in the killing of four people. Abubakar Shekau, a former deputy to Yusuf, took control of the group after Yusuf's death in 2009.

Shekau has been described as "an intensely private bookish theologian and ruthless killer, and rules a fractured organization". Since Shekau's rise, the violence has escalated in terms of both frequency and intensity.

State counter-offensive

According to Human Rights Watch, during the period between 2009 and beginning of 2012, Boko Harām was responsible for over 900 deaths.

On 14 May 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa in a bid to fight the activities of Boko Harām. He ordered the Nigerian Armed Forces to the three areas around Lake Chad.

As of 17 May, Nigerian armed forces' shelling in Borno resulted in at least 21 deaths. A curfew was imposed in Maiduguri as the military used air strikes and shellings to target Boko Harām strongholds.

The Nigerian state imposed a blockade on the group's traditional base of Maiduguri in Borno in order to re-establish Nigeria's "territorial integrity".

On 21 May, the Defence Ministry issued a statement that claimed it had "secured the environs of New Marte, Hausari, Krenoa, Wulgo and Chikun Ngulalo after destroying all the terrorists' camps".

Armed Forces Spokesman in Borno Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa said that the curfew that had been imposed was not relaxed with the curfew timings being 18:00 to 7:00, however there was minimal traffic in Maiduguri.

On 29 May, Boko Harām's leader Abubakar Shekau, following military claims that the group had been halted, released a video in which he said the group had not lost to the Nigerian armed forces. In the video he showed charred military vehicles and bodies dressed in military fatigues. While he called on Muslims from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria to join his jihad, he said in Arabic and Hausa:
My fellow brethren from all over the world, I assure you that we are strong, hale and hearty since they launched this assault on us following the state of emergency declaration. When they launch any attack on us you see soldiers fleeing and throwing away their weapons like a rabbit that is been hunted down.
On the same day, Nigeria's Director of Defence Information Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade said that Shekau's unnamed deputy was found dead near Lake Chad and that two others from Boko Harām were arrested in the area. However, the military's claims were not verified.

Satellite photos raise questions about the government's retaliatory attack on Boko Harām on April 16–17, 2013. Over 180 died, mostly from fires that appeared to be deliberately set during the government attack. Boko Harām fighters and civilians died in the attack.

The people of Maiduguri were unhappy with the declaration of war on the group and instead said the issues of poverty and inequality needed to be tackled first.

It was reported in August 2013 that Shekau had been shot and deposed by members of his sect, but he survived. He had been described as "the most dreaded and wanted" Boko Harām leader and he United States had recently offered a US$7m bounty for information leading to his arrest.

He has taken responsibility for the April 2014 kidnapping of over 200 school girls. On 6 May 2014, eight more girls were kidnapped by suspected Boko Harām gunmen. In a videotape, Shekau threatened to sell the kidnapped girls into slavery.

On 12 May 2014 Boko Harām released a video showing the kidnapped girls and alleging that the girls had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed.

On 17 May 2014, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and the presidents of Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger met in Paris and agreed to combat Boko Harām on a coordinated basis, sharing in particular surveillance and intelligence gathering.

Chad President Idriss Deby said after the meeting African nations were determined to launch a total war on Boko Harām. Western nations, including Britain, France, Israel, and the United States had also pledged support.


On 22 May 2014 Boko Harām was officially declared a terrorist group affiliated to Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb by the United Nations Security Council. International sanctions including asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo were imposed against the Islamist extremist group.

During May 2014, Nigerian soldiers shot at the car of their divisional commander whom they suspected of colluding with Boko Harām and it was reported that nine Nigerian generals were being investigated for suspected sale of weapons to Boko Harām.

Timeline of Boko Harām attacks in Nigeria

Timeline of incidents
7 September 2010 Bauchi prison break
31 December 2010 December 2010 Abuja attack
12 March 2011 Assassinated Muslim Cleric Imam Ibrahim Ahmed Abdullahi for criticizing the violent groups in northeast Nigeria
22 April 2011 Boko Harām frees 14 prisoners during a jailbreak in Yola, Adamawa State
29 May 2011 May 2011 northern Nigeria bombings
16 June 2011 The group claims responsibility for the 2011 Abuja police headquarters bombing
26 June 2011 Bombing attack on a beer garden in Maiduguri, leaving 25 dead and 12 injured
10 July 2011 Bombing at the All Christian Fellowship Church in Suleja, Niger State
11 July 2011 The University of Maiduguri temporarily closes down its campus citing security concerns
12 August 2011 Prominent Muslim Cleric Liman Bana is shot dead by Boko Harām.
26 August 2011 2011 Abuja bombing
4 November 2011 2011 Damaturu attacks
25 December 2011 December 2011 Nigeria bombings
5–6 January 2012 January 2012 Nigeria attacks
20 January 2012 January 2012 Kano bombings
28 January 2012 Nigerian army says it killed 11 Boko Harām insurgents
8 February 2012 Boko Harām claims responsibility for a suicide bombing at the army headquarters in Kaduna.
16 February 2012 Another prison break staged in central Nigeria; 119 prisoners are released, one warden killed.
8 March 2012 During a British hostage rescue attempt to free Italian engineer Franco Lamolinara and Briton Christopher McManus, abducted in 2011 by a splinter group Boko Harām, both hostages were killed.
31 May 2012 During a Joint Task Force raid on a Boko Harām den, it was reported that 5 sect members and a German hostage were killed.
3 June 2012 15 church-goers were killed and several injured in a church bombing in Bauchi state. Boku Harām claimed responsibility through spokesperson Abu Qaqa.
17 June 2012 Suicide bombers strike three churches in Kaduna State. At least 50 people were killed.
17 June 2012 130 bodies were found in Plateau State. It is presumed they were killed by Boko Harām terrorists.
18 September 2012 Family of four murdered
18 September 2012 Murder of six at an outdoor party
19 September 2012 Nigerian Military arrests Boko Harām militants, reported death of Abu Qaqa
3 October 2012 Around 25–46 people were massacred in the town of Mubi in Nigeria during a night-time raid.
18 March 2013 2013 Kano Bus bombing: At least 22 killed and 65 injured, when a suicide car bomb exploded in Kano bus station.
7 May 2013 At least 55 killed and 105 inmates freed in coordinated attacks on army barracks, a prison and police post in Bama town.
6 July 2013 Yobe State school shooting: 42 people, mostly students, were killed in a school attack in northeast Nigeria.
29 September 2013 College of Agriculture in Gujba: 40 male students killed.
14 January 2014 At least 31 people killed, over 50 people injured by suicide bombing in Maiduguri, Borno State.
16 February 2014 Izghe massacre: 106 villagers are killed, 105 of whom were boys and men.
25 February 2014 Federal Government College attack: Fury at military over Yobe deaths. At least 29 teenage boys dead at Federal Government College Buni Yadi.
14 April 2014 2014 Chibok kidnapping: Government properties, including the only girls' secondary school, attacked. At least 16 killed or missing, and 234 female students kidnapped. The Boko Harām militants said it would treat them as slaves as part of the "war booty".
14 April 2014 April 2014 Abuja bombing: Two bombs explode at a crowded bus station in Abuja, Nigeria, killing at least 90 people and injuring more than 200.
1 May 2014 A car bomb exploded killing at least 19 people and injured at least 60 in the same area of Abuja as the April bomb.
5 May 2014 2014 Gamburu attack: Boko Harām attacked the twin towns of Gamboru and Ngala in Borno State, Nigeria. They started shooting in a busy marketplace, set houses on fire, and gunned down anyone who tried to flee. The death toll of the massacre has been set as high as 336.
13 May 2014 Menari, Tsangayari and Garawa: Boko Harām attacked three villages, killing around 60 people in Menari. Vigilantes fought back, killing over 200 Boko Harām militants.
17 May 2014 Paris summit: A summit in Paris has declared Boko Harām is part of al-Qaeda as leaders from West African nations resolved to mount a region-wide offensive against the group that is holding more than 240 schoolgirls hostage in a dense jungle. Western nations have pledged to provide technical expertise and training to the new regional African effort against the Islamic extremists
18 May 2014 Kano: Suicide car bomb kills five people.
20 May 2014 Jos: Twin bomb explosions kill 118 people.
30 May 2014 Assassination of Muslim leader Alhaji Idrissa Timta the Emir of Gwoza in Borno state.
1 June 2014 Mubi bombing: An attack at a football field in Mubi, Adamawa state kills at least 40 people.
2 June 2014 Militants dressed as soldiers slaughtered at least 200 civilians in three communities in northeastern Nigeria's Borno state, in the Gwoza local government district. A community leader who witnessed the Monday killings had said that local residents had pleaded for help from the military, but it did not arrive in time. It took a few days for word from survivors to reach the provincial capital of Maiduguri, because the roads are extremely dangerous and phone connections are poor or nonexistent. The slaughter was confirmed by both Mohammed Ali Ndume, a senator representing Borno and whose hometown is Gwoza, and by a top security official in Maiduguri who insisted on anonymity.
21 June 2014 Bombings and shootings in the Chibok area resulted in the deaths of dozens of villagers
28 June 2014 Attacks with bombs and guns targeting churches in a number of villages in the country's north-east left at least 10 dead

Assessment

A study by the International Center of Counter-Terrorism suggests how economic abuse, class discrimination and social injustice prevent citizens from reaching their full potential and thereby fuel public support for Boko Harām. The study also refers to the United Nations resolution 3034, elaborating on measures to prevent terrorism.

Nigeria's former National Security Adviser, General Owoye Andrew Azazi, has been working with other African governments, European and Middle Eastern governments, and the U.S. government to build cooperation against Boko Harām.

He met in 2010 with CIA Director Leon Panetta, and in 2011 with AFRICOM Commander General Ham, and other U.S. officials, and was in the United States when the congressional panel was preparing its report on Boko Harām. He participated in a CIA conference at about the same time.

 After the Christmas 2011 bombings carried out by Boko Harām, US President Barack Obama's office issued a statement that confirmed that the US and Nigeria were cooperating against the group.

Randy Short, an American activist, said he suspected that Boko Harām is a covert CIA operation to enforce US foreign policy in Nigeria and also to gain entrance to secure the newly found oil in Northern Nigeria(Lake Chad Basin).

Social and politcal issues

Human Rights Watch researcher Eric Guttschuss told IRIN News that Yusuf successfully attracted followers from unemployed youth "by speaking out against police and political corruption".

Abdulkarim Mohammed, a researcher on Boko Harām, added that violent uprisings in Nigeria are ultimately due to "the fallout of frustration with corruption and the attendant social malaise of poverty and unemployment". 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, while pointing out that "where governments are weak, corrupt or non-existent, the message of Boko Harām and its counterparts is especially compelling," argues that this is a dynamic common to Islamic societies worldwide and reflects the darker side of the religious message.

Chris Kwaja, a Nigerian university lecturer and researcher, asserts that “religious dimensions of the conflict have been misconstrued as the primary driver of violence when, in fact, disenfranchisement and inequality are the root causes”. Nigeria, he points out, has laws giving regional political leaders the power to qualify people as 'indigenes' (original inhabitants) or not.

It determines whether citizens can participate in politics, own land, obtain a job, or attend school. The system is abused widely to ensure political support and to exclude others. Muslims have been denied indigene-ship certificates disproportionately often.
 
Nigerian opposition leader Buba Galadima says: "What is really a group engaged in class warfare is being portrayed in government propaganda as terrorists in order to win counter-terrorism assistance from the West."

Strategy and recruiting

In March 2012, it was reported that Boko Harām had taken a strategy to simulate convoys of high-profile Nigerians to access target buildings that are secured with fortifications.

Boko Harām has also reportedly attacked Christian worship centers to "trigger reprisal in all parts of the country", distracting authorities so they can unleash attacks elsewhere.



Much of Boko Haram's military hardware is stolen from the Nigerian army in raids, which has netted them guns, ammunition, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and vehicles.

The group is known for using motorcycles as their vehicle of choice to assassinate government officials and security officers. This has led to motorcycle bans in the city of Maiduguri.
 
It was gathered that the group uses the Internet to propagate its activities and enhance its radicalisation and circulation of extremist ideologies. Boko Harām is reportedly planning to greatly increase its following in many states.

Talk of Naija reported that Boko Harām has been involved in a recruitment drive, and they are allegedly targeting Muslims between ages of 17 and 30, and have also been recruiting freed prisoners through prison breaks. The group is also known to assign non-Kanuris on suicide missions.

Funding

Funding sources for Boko Harām are not certain, but is believed to be partially funded by bank robberies and by kidnappings and ransoms. which have earned the group millions of dollars.

Other Islamist groups are another source, in February 2012, recently arrested officials revealed that "while the organization initially relied on donations from members, its links with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM, opened it up to more funding from groups in Saudi Arabia and the UK". They went on to say that other sources of funding included the Al Muntada Trust Fund and the Islamic World Society.

U.S. officials have told Reuters that financial support from foreign groups and donors represent an inconsequential amount, with most funds coming from criminal activities.

In the past, Nigerian officials have been criticized for being unable to trace much of the funding that Boko Harām has received. Boko Haram is said to primarily use human couriers to move cash around inside Nigeria, rather than banking transactions.

The group also extorts local governments for so-called "protection money". A spokesman of Boko Harām claimed that Kano state governor Ibrahim Shekarau and Bauchi state governor Isa Yuguda had paid them monthly.

Boko Harām is designated by the US Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and so, it is banned from receiving funds from the US or US nationals

Culled From : wikipedia
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