News / Africa

Despite Army Operations, No Letup in Nigerian Militant Attacks

In this photo taken on Aug. 8, 2013, Nigerian Muslims walk past an uncompleted mosque in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
In this photo taken on Aug. 8, 2013, Nigerian Muslims walk past an uncompleted mosque in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
Heather Murdock
Reports are circulating that militants killed dozens of people in northeastern Nigeria during the weekend, most of whom were praying at a mosque.  Some analysts said the insurgent group Boko Haram could be trying to warn civilians not to cooperate with authorities.
 
Locals say men in fatigues, but not Nigerian soldiers, attacked a mosque early Sunday in the town of Kanduga as people were praying.  The reports said at least 44 people were killed.  Locals said another attack in the village of Ngom killed at least 12. Officials confirmed the attacks happened outside of Maidguri, the original home of Boko Haram, but did not say how many people were killed.   
 
Elizabeth Donnelly, assistant head of the Africa Programme for the London-based think tank Chatham House, said recent attacks are meant to show the public Boko Haram has not been conquered, despite thousands of soldiers being deployed in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states, which are under emergency rule.
 
“With this current attack it is demonstrating its presence.  It is flexing its muscles," Donnelly said. "It is showing that it still has the capacity to cause serious harm.”  
 
Major attacks blamed on Nigeria's Boko Haram
 
2009
  • July - Attacks prompt government crackdown in Bauchi and Maiduguri; 800 people killed
 
2010
  • December - Bombings in central Nigeria and church attacks in the northeast kill 86
 
2011
  • June - Attack on a bar in Maiduguri kills 25
  • August - Suicide bomber kills 23 at U.N. building in Abuja
  • November - Bombings in Damaturu and Potiskum kill 65
  • December - Christmas Day bombings across Nigeria kill 39
 
2012
  • January -- Gun and bomb attacks in Kano kill up to 200
  • February - Maiduguri market attack kills 30
  • June - Suicide car bombings at three churches kill 21
  • July - Attacks in Plateau state kill dozens, including two politicians at a funeral for the victims
 
2013
  • February - French family kidnapped in Cameroon, held hostage for two months
  • April - Fighting with troops in Baga kills up to 200; residents say troops set deadly fires
  • May - Attacks in Bama kill more than 50
  • July - Gunmen kill 30 at a school in Yobe
  • August - Gunmen kill 44 at a mosque outside Maiduguri
  • September - Gunmen kill 40 students a dorm in Yobe
  • October - Attack Yobe state capital Damaturu, clash with military in Borno state
But she also said the attacks do not necessarily mean that the Nigerian government is losing its war with insurgents.  The region has been largely cut off from the rest of the country for the past three months, with cell phone lines and other forms of communications usually down.  
 
Donnelly said the latest attacks show military claims to be crushing Boko Haram and Boko Haram claims to be growing stronger could each be true. “You are [seeing] heightened activity around Maiduguri because this is where the core of the group has now been squeezed and remains.  Or if this thing actually-the state of emergency, is really going anywhere because, well clearly it is not delivering protection to civilians,” she stated.

Borno State officials said the attack could have been intended to scare people who may have been sharing information with security forces.  One of the pillars of their current security policy is to gather intelligence from local residents.  
 
Civilians have also formed vigilante groups with the support of Nigerian security forces.  Usman Musa told a VOA reporter in Maiduguri his vigilante group went to Konduga after the mosque was attacked and fought with heavily armed militants, who killed four of Musa’s comrades.  
 
A new video released shortly after the attack on the mosque and in the nearby town of Ngom shows Abubakar Shekau, the man believed to lead Boko Haram, claiming responsibility for recent deadly attacks and promising more.  
 
He said his fighters are ready to not only conquer Nigeria, but also confront the United States.  After he speaks, a shaky video shows men burning what looks like an armored vehicle with flat tires in the desert.  
 
What sounds like gunshots can be heard and the camera pans to what appears to be some kind of aircraft flying over the smoky car.  
 
Boko Haram has been blamed for thousands of deaths since 2009 in attacks on the government, churches, schools, mosques, markets, international organizations and media houses.  In his video messages, Shekau said the group wants to impose Islamic law and rescue imprisoned members.  But like their latest video, their real motivations have never been entirely clear to outsiders.  
 
Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to this report from Maiduguri; Ardo Hazzad contributed to this report from Bauchi.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 14, 2013 7:56 AM
Nigerians know where the boko haram trouble is coming from. On Tuesday the Nigeria Television Authority program (Tuesday Live) dwelt on the issue of Boko Haram and insecurity in the country. Callers asked the question why those who clearly promised what is happening now - boko haram attacks - have not been brought to book, but the organizers ignored the question as if it was asked. Which is an indication that even in the government media houses the issue is a sacred one not to be discussed. Sacred cow syndrome is an issue Nigeria cannot survive.

Those implicated have not even been queried for once. Instead their apologist in the panel of discussants takes our minds back to 2001 and 2002 when seemingly similar thing like boko haram attack arose. But how can we draw a symmetry to that, assuming they were only fine tuning strategies at the time being sponsored by those who assuredly promised destabilization should they lose the election in 2009? The bigger problem is that Nigeria has a Lilly-livered authority at all levels of administration that show no clout for anything except in dexterity to corruption -staling of public funds.

The army can do little but fight where there is clue to do that, but with the cooperation of the Muslim communities and high placed individuals who hunt with the hound and run with the hare, the militants cannot but have an upper hand in committing mayhem in the country. Until there is a president who will take the bull by the horn by taking action against the known, seemingly untouchable sponsors of these miscreants, the end is not yet in sight.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid