News / Africa

State Governor Tours Site of Weekend Slaughter in Nigeria

In this image shot with a mobile phone, a young girl stands amid the burned ruins of Baga, Nigeria, April 21, 2013.
In this image shot with a mobile phone, a young girl stands amid the burned ruins of Baga, Nigeria, April 21, 2013.

Location

Baga, Nigeria
Heather Murdock
Residents of a northern Nigerian town are returning from hideouts in the bush after a fierce  -- and deadly -- battle between suspected Islamist militants and government security forces
 
The fishing town of Baga sits on the northeastern edge of Nigeria, on a bit of land that juts into Lake Chad.  
 
Residents of the town fled their homes over the weekend when fierce fighting broke out between the military and suspected militants from the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram.  A local official, Lawan Kole, says the fighting destroyed about 2,000 homes and left 185 people dead.

A soldier involved in the field operations - who asked not to be named - says Boko Haram fighters are to blame for the carnage because they were operating in the town, essentially using the civilian population as a human shield.   
 
“What happened that night was an exchange of fire between us and the rebels, terrorists," the soldier said. "It was terrible.  They fired RPG canisters.  That was what brought out fire.”
 
But some locals say the battle was out of control on both sides and that soldiers set fire to houses and chased people into the bush.  
 
The battle is believed to have begun Friday night, but it wasn’t until Sunday before it hit the news in the Nigerian capital.
 
On Sunday, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima visited Baga.  The governor urged residents who were slowly returning to town to remain in their homes and vowed that if peace was not restored, he would personally relocate to Baga.
 
“I will ask everybody to come back to his home and stay," Shettima said. "If the harassment continues, I will personally relocate from Maiduguri to here and let me be harassed along with the rest of the people.”
 
Boko Haram has been battling the government since 2009, attacking churches, schools, telecom infrastructure, media houses, government offices and the local U.N. headquarters.  
 
The crisis in Baga over the weekend represents one of the highest casualty counts for a single attack but it is not yet clear if victims were targeted or died in fires during the battle.
 
Boko Haram advocates for the enforcement of Islamic law in Nigeria and freedom for imprisoned members.  But the group communicates with the public only through unverifiable e-mails and videos and no one is certain exactly who they are or what they represent.
 
Some northern community leaders have asked the government to grant amnesty to the Boko Haram fighters, in an effort to end the mounting death tolls.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kola
April 23, 2013 12:23 PM
Little wonder why Africa makes the news headlines given its propensity for violence and SADC and the UN together with the Hague look on. Will this ever change, very doubtful to say the least.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
April 22, 2013 10:22 AM
Why was the battle not expected? Some Nigerian knows that boko haram has a 5000man strength, and yet they say boko haram is faceless. The face of boko haram has been revealed in the face of the person who knows its number of combatants. How did he know? Who will receive the amnesty proposed for this group? How is it to be administered?

So those convicted man-eaters will be let loose on the populace once again? What a government will do this evil to its people! Ahmadinejad was in Niger just last week, did anyone care to negotiate the amnesty for the group with him? Was amnesty his idea? Or did he not bring enough money to the group so that they want to abandon the struggle; do they no longer want removal of civilization from that part of the world? I think the army is getting it right by involving the locals in the fight since they (the locals) refuse to expose the nihilists hiding among them until a war breaks out.

In Response

by: Dr Deji Daramola from: Canada
April 23, 2013 12:55 PM
It is not fair to justify the killing of innocent Nigerians just because they did not give away information about terrorists in their midst. How do they report this to?..the Nigerian police? you must be kidding. If you report things of this nature to the police in Nigeria one of three things will happen; they will either detain you as a suspect yourself, detain you for some flimsy reason in order to get a bribe out of you or insiders amongst them will inform Boko Haram that you are a traitor. Either way you look at it, the civilians are doomed!

come to think of it, the battle started Friday, news got to Abuja on Sunday (in an area as sensitive as Borno) its a shame. The governor should stop gibberish, he should move over to that town right away..of course he knows he cant afford to, Nigerian politician don't sacrifice anything for nobody!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid