Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Lands, better known as Ansaru, is an Islamist jihadist militant organisation based in the northeast of Nigeria. It is a splinter group of the larger Boko Haram organisation, founded in January 2012, and reportedly has more of an international focus than the latter.
In the group's first statement, released on the Internet in January 2012, its leader, Abu Usmatul al-Ansari (sometimes written 'Abu Ussamata al-Ansary'). described Boko Haram actions as "inhuman to the Muslim Ummah". Ansari also praised the Sokoto Caliphate and its founder, Usman dan Fodio. In another Internet video released by the group in June 2012, al-Ansari claimed that the group would not kill innocent non-Muslims or security officials, except in "self defense" and that the group would defend the interests of Islam and Muslims not just in Nigeria but the whole of Africa. Unlike Boko Haram, which is based around Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, Ansaru operates in and around Kano State in north-central Nigeria, the heartland of the Hausa-Fulani peoples.
The organisation's motto is “Jihad Fi Sabilillah”, meaning "struggle for the cause of Allah".
The group reportedly coordinates its operations with the northern Mali-based al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa. Ansaru is designated as a proscribed terrorist organization by New Zealand and the UK Home Office.
Several of Ansaru’s commanders have been reported as returning to Boko Haram over 2013.