TGR | 15 January 2015 |
As the onslaught of terrorism in Nigeria, acted out by the armed Islamist militant group Boko Haram continues; the people struggle to survive. The armed group was founded in 2002. The name means “Western education is forbidden” and Boko Haram’s philosophy opposes anything associated with Western society including education, voting, and even wearing certain clothing such as shirts and trousers.
In 2009, the group’s founder was publicly executed by Nigerian security forces. Since then, Boko Haram has unleashed its brutal insurgency, led by Abubakar Shekau, against several states in northern Nigeria and is responsible for bombs, abductions, torture, and the killing of thousands. Although the group’s tactics rely heavily on guerrilla warfare, it established a military component and they have become more blatant in their attacks in rural areas. Their intent is to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic caliphate.
Bring Back Our Girls
On 14 April 2014, some 234 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok were abducted by Boko Haram, which led to the launch of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The girls, aged 16 to 18 are still missing. There have been multiple reports that the girls have been sold into slavery or subjected to forced marriages.
In November 2014, at least 45 civilians were killed when two suicide bombers attacked the market in Maiduguri. A few days later, 120 persons were killed when another bomb was detonated in a Kano mosque. A month later, two females were involved in bombing the same market in Maiduguri. In the last week alone there have been several attacks that included children strapped with explosive devices to be used in terrorist attacks by Boko Haram. In one case the young girl was approximately 10 years old; 20 civilians were killed. While some label these children as “suicide bombers”, let’s be clear, these are children, and they are victims of a terrorist organization.
Campaign of Violence
On 2 January 2015, Boko Haram began attacking the towns of Baga and Doron Baga and continued their campaign for four days. Satellite imagery that was released by Amnesty International showed the destruction of more than 3,700 structures and the deaths of as many as 2,000 civilians. The Boko Haram attack has been called the most devastating to date. Eye-witness testimony detailed the horrific accounts which included Boko Haram militants shooting unarmed civilians, even women and children, as they ran to escape the attack. One witness said, “There were bodies everywhere.”
Stop the Violence
Nigerian authorities need to know that the world stands with them in their struggle against Boko Haram. The rights of all the people of Nigeria must be protected and they must be able to live free from violence. The acts committed by Boko Haram are considered war crimes and crimes against humanity and must be stopped. The Nigerian government should take all possible legal means available to stop Boko Haram, restore stability, and ensure the safety and protection of its civilians.
Photo Credit: Boko Haram bombing by theglobalpanorama Licensed under CC 2.0 license