News / Africa

Nigeria Bloodshed Intensifies in Weekend Attacks

Nigeria Struggles With Surging Boko Haram Violencei
March 03, 2014 11:17 PM
A string of violent attacks being blamed on Boko Haram militants in Nigeria has security analysts worried the group is growing stronger. While the Nigerian government says it’s handling the situation as well as it can, others say the group is a big threat to the oil-rich nation and worry it may spill over into neighboring countries. But as Mariama Diallo reports, there may be little the international community can do to help.
Related video report by Mariama Diallo, "Nigeria Struggles With Surging Boko Haram Violence"
Heather Murdock
Conflict in northeast Nigeria appears to be escalating with nearly 100 people killed and three abducted in separate attacks over the weekend.
Two vehicles exploded Saturday in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, not far from a movie theater and a wedding reception. Aid workers say among the dozens of bodies were many children.
About 60 kilometers away, residents of a farming village were rounded up, and scores were shot dead while their houses were burned.
At the scene of the blasts, Hassan Ali, a leader in a civilian security force called the “Civilian JTF,” is part of the rescue team that is still searching for corpses among the rubble.  
He says, “The flame went up.  Everybody started running. Some people in around the area start coming to rescue.”
A day after a double bombing in northern Nigeria killed dozens of people, men search the rubble for bodies in Maidguri, March 2, 2014. (Abdulkareem Haruna/VOA)A day after a double bombing in northern Nigeria killed dozens of people, men search the rubble for bodies in Maidguri, March 2, 2014. (Abdulkareem Haruna/VOA)
A day after a double bombing in northern Nigeria killed dozens of people, men search the rubble for bodies in Maidguri, March 2, 2014. (Abdulkareem Haruna/VOA)
A day after a double bombing in northern Nigeria killed dozens of people, men search the rubble for bodies in Maidguri, March 2, 2014. (Abdulkareem Haruna/VOA)
Maiduguri is the capital of Borno State and the original home of Boko Haram, an Islamist militia that has killed thousands of people in four-and-a-half years of insurgency.  Borno is one of three northeastern states that have been under emergency rule for more than nine months.  
Other northern states have been targeted by suspected Boko Haram members, including Bauchi, where three polio vaccinators were kidnapped over the weekend.
The Nigerian military says air and ground assaults continue across the emergency zones and suspects in the bombings have been arrested. Both soldiers and  terrorists have been killed in recent battles.

But Ali says civilians are often left to fend for themselves. “We have vast area here behind that is not covered by security and we have been bothering on that issue," he said. "Even our Civilian JTF who are here, they have been reporting this incident to the policemen and even the S.S. [State Security]. The security arrangement we are not happy with.”  

At an international security conference last week in Abuja, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan reached out to the families of victims of other recent attacks, including a raid on a high school where nearly 60 students were killed.
“These gruesome and mindless acts of savagery is not Nigerian," he said. "It is not African.  Let me assure Nigerians that we will spare no resource in bringing those murderers to justice.”
But with nearly a quarter of Nigeria’s national budget reserved for security, some northerners say financial resources are not lacking, but a better strategy or political will is needed.
Yusuf Arrigasiyyu. chairman of the Muslim Civil Society of Nigeria in the northern states, says, “We feel this was done because the government at the national level did not show serious concern.  Because they are in control of the army, the air force and even the Nigerian police.”
Arrigassiyyu says Boko Haram attacks villages and schools with machine guns and bombs from the back of trucks. If Nigerians could figure out where they get the money for all that equipment, he says, they could stop the insurgency.
Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to this report from Maiduguri, Ibrahim Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna, Ardo Hazzad contributed to this report from Bauchi.

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Comment Sorting
by: Mayom Makuei Biar from: Juba South Sudan
March 04, 2014 9:35 AM
what is wrong with Muslem In Africa yesterday was Somalia El Shabab and now another gruond call Buko Aram is threatening Nageria I think this gruops need to be collectivily deal with by African leaders if africa is to get peace

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
March 04, 2014 7:40 AM
When the Nigerian officials lie to the media, they think that everybody is daft like them and will accept and swallow all the lies just like that. The new chief of defense staff told us just last week that boko haram has been pushed out of the main land territories and are now operating pockets of attacks from very small areas around the border with Cameroon, saying that was why the border was closed. If that were true, why have the attacks been stepped up by the insurgents and more civilians killed instead?

It like when they went to far away Davos to claim that electricity has stabilized in the country, and yet everyday and night Nigerians are deafened by sound of generating sets running in order to either do work or relax. Who are they deceiving? If anything gets better than it used to be, people will see it and commend their efforts. But a situation where officials fail to do their job and rule by claiming fabulous results that are not there is, to say the least, scandalous.

Nigerians will vote for any candidate who shows a good standing and resolve to stop boko haram, and if Jonathan cannot do it now as a president, will Nigerians agree with his campaign promise to stop them after the election? Time is now to prove that he can do it, so Nigerians may vote for him again, not after the elections.

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