Nigerian Islamists Stage Deadly Attack on Christian Village
Dozens of residents in northeastern Nigeria were killed in two separate attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants, with the death toll topping 100, according to various reports on Monday.
In the first attack, Boko Haram gunmen surrounded Izge, a Christian farming village close to the border with Cameroon on Sunday, burning down dozens of homes and shooting guns everywhere.
London’s Channel 4 reported local resident Abubakar Usman describing a scene, “As I am talking to you now, all the dead bodies of the victims are still lying in the streets. We fled without burying them, fearing the terrorists were still lurking in the bushes.”
In the second attack early Saturday, suspected Boko Haram gunmen opened fire on Doron Baga, a fishing village along Lake Chad, CNN.com reported.
“They opened fire from all directions, forcing residents to jump into the lake in a bid to escape, and many drowned while others were gunned down,” said Babagana Gwoni, a survivor of the attack.
The death toll from Sunday’s raid on the village of Izge reached 106. Some people were brought to the hospital and later died from injuries and excessive bleeding.
The militants, reportedly dressed in military uniforms, stormed the village late Saturday and opened sporadic fire on residents. The specifically targeted male residents.
Also on Monday, Nigerian security officials announced they had arrested about 20 Boko Haram Islamist militants from neighboring Nigeria, who are suspected of planning attacks in Niger’s south east, Reuters reported in a separate story.
“The alleged plot to strike Diffa, a Nigerien town that borders Nigeria’s Borno state, highlights the cross-border threats following a Nigerian army offensive against militants that has pushed thousands of refugees and some insurgents across the porous border into Niger,” the Reuters report said.
In May, President Goodluck Jonathan ordered more troops into northeast Nigeria to try to rid the area of the insurgents, who want to form a breakaway Caliphate out of northern Nigeria, which is largely Muslim. According to Reuters, the Islamists simply retreated into the remote, hilly Gwoza area bordering Cameroon, where they have continued to launch deadly attacks that increasingly target civilian populations.
The Nigerian government is vowing to end the insurgency once and for all. At the same time, the governor for Borno State claims Boko Haram is better armed than the government and his security forces are ill-equipped to stage counter attacks.
“Boko Haram are better armed and are better motivated than our own troops,” Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima told journalists at the presidential villa after a meeting with President Jonathan, reported Reuters. “Given the present state of affairs, it is absolutely impossible for us to defeat Boko Haram.”
Boko Haram remained able to “overrun communities and butcher innocent souls,” despite the army presence, he said.
“That cannot be true. Yes, they carry illegal arms but are not better armed than the Nigerian army,” said Nigerian defense ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade in response to Shettima’s comments, Reuters reported.
It is clear Boko Haram are creating havoc for the Nigerian government, and it’s spilling over into neighboring countries. The militant group — believed to have ties to al-Qaida — is considered the biggest security risk in Nigeria, Africa’s top oil exporter and second-largest economy after South Africa.
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