Nigeria: Raiding, Looting, Killing And Kidnapping

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October 26, 2014: The recent peace deal with Boko Haram is highly suspect. Announced with great fanfare by the government on the 18 th , it was to include an immediate ceasefire and the release of over 200 teenage girls Boko Haram seized since earlier this year. The peace deal was said to have been agreed to on the 17 th but since then the violence has continued and there has been no confirmation from Boko Haram that they had agreed to anything. Chad (which is hosting the talks) and Nigeria insist that the deal is still on, but will not provide details. Since the 17th Boko Haram has kidnapped 60 more girls and made it clear the girls were being taken (usually from Christian villages) for use as sex slaves.

There has long been suspicions that Boko Haram was not a unified organization but a loose coalition of factions operating under the Boko Haram name. If that is the case then a peace deal will be difficult to achieve because the factions do not agree with each other on many issues, especially negotiating with the government. Boko Haram exists mainly to overthrow the government and replace it with a religious dictatorship. According to their spokesmen, Boko Haram believes they are winning and have no need of a ceasefire.

Three years of Boko Haram violence has left at least 14,000 dead and 2014 is the worst year so far. About half of those 14,000 deaths have occurred in the last twelve months. Religious and tribal violence has been common in Nigeria for centuries, but Boko Haram is the worst outbreak in recent times. For example, religious and tribal violence have killed 30,000 people since 1998, with Boko Haram accounting for a large fraction of that. Boko Haram is also different because they are operating in neighboring countries (Chad, Niger and Cameroon) as well. This has led to Nigeria, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger agreeing to form a joint military force (with about 4,000 troops) to operate against Boko Haram and seek to destroy it. This new coalition brigade is supposed to begin operating in November.

October 24, 2014: In the south (Bayelsa state) pirates in speedboats ambushed an oil company barge being escorted by a police boat and looted the barge and police boat and took six oil workers and three policemen (and the civilian operating their boat) captive.

Up north, across the border in Cameroon Boko Haram men attacked a village housing refugees from Nigeria. This left four Nigerian civilians dead (and one Cameroon civilian wounded). But Cameroon soldiers showed up and drove them off. Cameroon troops also intercepted two other groups of Boko Haram as they crossed the border, exchanged fire with them and drove the Islamic terrorists back into Nigeria. The army reported that these three clashes left 39 Boko Haram dead. The army did not report their own casualties.

October 23, 2014: In the northeast (Borno state) Boko Haram raided several villages killing at least 17 people and kidnapping over 30 children aged 11-17. The raiders also looted homes and businesses and stole 200 cattle as well. These attacks continued into the weekend.

October 20, 2014: In the northeast there were several clashes with Boko Haram that left five civilians and 25 Islamic terrorists dead. The army did not disclose its casualties.

October 18, 2014: In the northeast (Adamawa State) Boko Haram returned to areas around Michika where they had fought with the army earlier in the month. Over the next two days the Islamic terrorists raided thee towns, killing at least 50 people, burning some buildings and leaving. This was apparently to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the army in clearing Boko Haram from the area.

October 17, 2014: In Chad peace talks between Nigerian and Boko Haram negotiators reached an agreement for a cease fire and the release of 200 girls kidnapped earlier in the year. It was implied that the ceasefire would begin immediately but that did not happen, at least for Boko Haram gunmen who continued raiding, looting, killing and kidnapping.

October 15, 2014: In the north (Bauchi state) a bomb went off in a bus station killing five and wounding 12. Boko Haram is suspected.

October 11, 2014: In the northeast (Borno state) a Christian clergyman, kidnapped by Boko Haram in January, escaped (after heavy rain flooded the camp where he was being held). The clergyman said he had been held in the Sambisa forest. This is a large (60,000 square kilometers), hilly, sparsely populated area where the borders of Borno, Yobe and Adamwa states meet. It has long been a hideout for Boko Haram but the former captive reported that he was moved several times to avoid approaching soldiers.

In Cameroon the government announced the release of 27 people taken by Boko Haram in May and July. The victims included ten Chinese and the wife of Cameroon's deputy prime minister. It is unclear if any ransom was paid, but it is known that police and the military pursued these incidents vigorously and there have been several raids and over a dozen arrests.

October 10, 2014: Tribal violence continues in central Nigeria (Plateau State) as Moslem raiders attacked Christian villages killing at least 26 people and destroying at least 60 buildings in the last week. This is a continuation of the series of attacks that involve Moslem nomadic Fulani tribesmen fighting with Christian and pagan farmers outside the city of Jos. The Christians usually retaliate and the violence continues. This has been going on for years. The violence has gotten worse now and there were over a thousand casualties in 2013. Boko Haram has recently claimed involvement, but that appears to be marginal. The Fulani have long claimed that the government was sending Christian police to persecute them because of their religion (not because they were constantly attacking Christian farmers). The settled (farming) tribes have been there a long time and in the last few decades more Fulani have come south looking for pasturage and water for their herds and have increasingly used force to get what they want.

October 6, 2014: In the northeast (Borno state) Boko Haram raided the town of Ngamdu at night and the next morning residents found seven local men had been beheaded by the Islamic terrorists. The victims were believed to be involved with local self-defense militias. Boko Haram is trying to intimidate there local militias into inactivity. So far that is not working as locals believe they must either organize and resist or become slaves to the Islamic terrorists.

In the northeast (Adamawa State) soldiers responded to several hundred Boko Haram gunmen who had seized control of several villages in the Michika area a month ago. Soldiers claim to have killed over a hundred Boko Haram men and forced the others out of the area. Before the army showed up the Islamic terrorists had looted and destroyed over 500 buildings and terrorized the local civilians. The people there complain that this has been going on since early September and no soldiers or police have showed up. Over 10,000 people have fled to the state capital (Yola).

 

 

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