Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Nigeria's Weeks of terror

A map of recent terror attacks in Nigeria

In the shadow of Paris attacks, Nigerians are coming to grips with their own week of terrorist attacks by the brutal terrorist group Boko Haram. ISIS influences can be seen in the Boko Haram's adaption of the black flag, takfiri/wahhabi styled messages (generally always in Arabic) and behavior of its militants and insurgency, its unending use of psychological violence, fear and terrorizing men, women and children while taunting Nigeria's  military and government. Boko's scorched earth tactics has targeted students, children, families, marketplaces and small villages in mainly Northern and occasionally Nigeria's largest city Lagos and capital Abuja. Viligantes from the same towns are fighting against the group day after day to push the takfiris out of their towns without the help of Nigerian military or ECOWAS counterrorism force. Boko Haram has tripled its attacks against Nigerian civilians and the national military for the past several months. The same week of Jan 7th, the cities of Maiduguri and Baga saw the largest amount of civilian deaths and carnage in recent years. Maiduguri has been caught in cross hairs of Boko Haram attacks and Nigerian military retaliations for years. The city has seen its residents leave and return with each attack that bear resemblance to Al Shabab attacks in Somalia. Boko Haram hailed the attacks as a success after overrunning multinational counterrorism team at two military base and chasing Nigerian soldiers out of town. Civilians immediately fled with the soldiers and mourned their relatives and friends.

Baga is a small border town on Lake Chad in Borno state, across from the African countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger respectively. It also sits on a small peninsula that jets into Lake Chad. Little Baga hadn't seen the large amount of violence as Maiduguri or other neighboring towns. It served until last week as a refuge and town of calm. However, last week's violence in Baga left thousands of residents displaced and some 2,000 innocent residents murdered by Boko Haram. Still in shock, the surviving residents, men, women and children managed to flee to an island on Lake Chad until the violence ebbed.  quickly escaped terrorists. The few survivors of the Baga massacre recall seeing burned buildings and hundreds of bodies of children and old people. The victims weren't able to fight back against the terrorists. Hundreds of Nigerian refugees are currently residing in tempororay camps in Chad, Cameroon and Niger afraid and horrified to return to their nearby hometowns. The terrorist attacks in Baga and Maiduguri has shocked the entire world including UN Security Ban Ki Moon who condemned the attack immediately and loudly. Cameroon, Nigeria's neighbor has also been fighting against Boko Haram terrorists for a few months now in border towns who are dead set on bringing their insurgency to Cameroon and possibly neighboring countries. Cameroonian soldiers confirmed it killed several Boko Haram insurgents on in Kolofata, Cameroon not far from Nigeria's border. The.

A TV grab of Boko Haram
The two recent suicide bombings by young girls in Maiduguri and other towns added to psychological terror unleashed by Boko Haram. Suicide bombing is a new form of violence in Nigeria. Even five years ago, the idea of a Nigerian either young or old strapping bomb vests to their bodies would've been viewed as insanity. The gruesome use of children in remote control bombings has also stunned Nigerian parents. While the country comes together to mourn and reflect on the response to the latest attacks, the Nigerian government has yet to call for international solidarity or march against fear to honor the victims in Baga.

April 2014: Nigerian military escorting local state government delegation through the destroyed streets after a military operation against Boko Haram caused 150+ civilian deaths and destruction.

Boko Haram's relationship with Niger Delta militants by Sahara Reporters TV

Back in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan is trying to keep the country calm while preparing for general elections on February 15th. Boko Haram and other terrorist groups purposely choose to attack civilians right before a major election to demonstrate their strength and remind the nation that they are still capable of getting the international media's attention.

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