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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs