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

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

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