Boko Haram suspected in numerous Nigerian massacres
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/14/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The Islamist insurgency group Boko Haram is suspected in a string of massacres throughout the African nation of Nigeria. The latest was an attack on a village in northeast state of Borno, where 60 people were killed. Eight people were killed in a separate attack upon a teacher training college.
A screengrab taken on March 24 from a video shows a man claiming to be the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Boko Haram has attempted to create an Islamic state in Africa's most populous country. Thousands have been killed following an uprising in the northeast more than four years ago. Tensions are expected here, as Nigeria is split evenly between Christians and Muslims.
Gunmen attacked the village of Kala Balge, near the Cameroon border from several different directions late last week, according to witnesses. Terrified residents are reported to have tried to flee the gunfire.
"I'm making efforts to evacuate my parents from the town," one survivor said after the attack. He said he counted 60 bodies scattered around after the insurgents left.
Insurgents killed eight people at a teacher training college in the remote village of Dikwa. "They entered at night. They killed my brother Madu. The insurgents shot him in front of his wife and two sons. Then they shot them, too," one eyewitness said, choking back tears over the telephone.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ordered extra troops into northeast Nigeria last year. There is high concern over the stability and integrity of Nigeria's oil wells. Africa's top oil producer, much oil is shipped to the west, such as the United States.
Rebels have retreated into the remote, hilly Gwoza area, bordering Cameroon, from where they have stepped up their campaign, mounting deadly attacks against security forces and civilians they accuse of being pro-government.
News of attacks have been slow in coming as spokespeople for the military and police are slow to answer inquiries.
The killings here have become almost weekly events in war-troubled northeastern Nigeria. Word often takes days to trickle out, hindered by the remoteness of the region's scattered villages.
Many Nigerian towns have been without cellphone reception for much of the past year as Nigeria's military shut down towers in an attempt to block Boko Haram's internal communications.
While Boko Haram hasn't immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, it fits a pattern in Nigeria's northeast: the sect is carrying out horrific reprisals against pro-government villages far removed from military protection.
"They're lashing out at people that don't support them," Cambridge University Nigeria researcher Adam Higazi says. "It's a serious problem."
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