It’s the Deadliest Islamic Terrorist Group Outside Iraq and Syria, But Nobody Seems to Care
Over the past five years, Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group has murdered an estimated 10,000 people, far more than any other group outside Iraq and Syria, yet it continues to draw little attention from the West. Recently Boko Haram conducted what Amnesty International is calling possibly “the deadliest massacre” of its reign of terror, when it overran the town of Baga, razing it and killing as many as 2,000 people. Thousands of refugees have now fled their homes around Baga, which is located on the Nigeria-Chad border.
The group seized a military base on January 3rd, and apparently used that as a base of attack. According to the District Head Baba Abba Hassan, most of the victims were women, children, and the elderly, who were unable to escape after armed men drove into the town, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.
A few days later, a 10-year-old female suicide bomber struck the market in the main city of northeast Nigera, Maiduguri, resulting in at least 10 deaths and multiple injuries. Two other female suicide bombers killed four people and injured 40 more in the town of Potiskum.
The Nigerian military reported 14 soldiers were killed and 30 wounded in conflicts in and around Baga. Officials said the military had successfully fought off a Boku Haram attack on another major town, Damaturu.
The greatest international attention garnered thus far by Boko Haram was in response to their kidnapping last year of 276 schoolgirls from a boarding school in Chibok. Dozens of the girls escaped, but 219 remain unaccounted for. At the time, there was a worldwide outcry, accompanied by the slogan, “Bring home our girls,” but ultimately, nothing has been done to locate and rescue them.
The Catholic Archbishop of Jos, in central Nigeria, on Monday accused the West of ignoring the Boko Haram threat. Ignatius Kaigama told the BBC the world needs to show more determination to halt the group’s advance in Nigeria.
He suggested the international community show the same outrage and compassion for the victims of Boko Haram’s siege of terror as it has for victims of the attacks in France.
“It is a monumental tragedy. It has saddened all of Nigeria. But … we seem to be helpless. Because if we could stop Boko Haram, we would have done it right away. But they continue to attack, and kill and capture territories… with such impunity,” he said.
France has called for Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad to each send 700 troops as part of a multinational force to fight Boko Haram. So far, the plan has not been implemented.
Observers fear the growing strength of Boku Haram represents a threat to the countries of Europe, and potentially the United States.