Over 70 people have died this week in a series of attacks by members of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram on towns and villages in Borno and Yobe States of north eastern Nigeria.
The renewed attacks come amidst reports on 28 May that five more of the girls abducted from their school in Chibok by Boko Haram on 14 May are now free and are being kept in an undisclosed location. Some news sources state that four of them were released after they fell ill, while the fifth escaped. The arrest of a suspect in the 20 May bombing in Jos, Plateau State was also announced on the same day.
On 28 May, sect members reportedly attacked Gurmushi Village in Marte Local Government Area (LGA), Borno State, killing at least 40 residents and razing the village to the ground.
Earlier, an estimated 33 people were killed in separate attacks by Boko Haram in Borno and Yobe States on the evening of 26 May. Eight people died and several were wounded when Boko Haram gunmen attacked Chinene village in the Chikide-Joghode-Kaghum Ward of Gwoza LGA in Borno State, destroying six churches and razing several homes. Sect members also attacked Amuda Village, where one person was killed and several others were injured. In addition, the insurgents are said to have hoisted their flags in the Ashigashiya Ward of Gwoza LGA, declaring it their headquarters and vowing to launch further attacks on surrounding villages.
In neighbouring Yobe State, at least 14 soldiers, 11 policemen and two civilians were killed in Buni Yadi, Gujba LGA, after troops were taken unawares by Boko Haram gunmen. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) are believed to have been among the victims of the two-hour night attack, during which the divisional police station, the Emir’s palace, the District Head‘s residence and office, and several military posts were either vandalized or destroyed. One eyewitness told Nigerian news sources that the insurgents, who arrived in Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Toyota Hilux vans, had informed civilians they had nothing to fear since the attack was aimed at the military. This was Boko Haram’s third assault on Buni Yadi this year.
On 25 May, Boko Haram members targeted a market in Kumuyya Village in Biu LGA, Borno State, killing around 20 people and destroying market stalls. Sect members were reportedly angered the villagers had only managed to collect a little over £250 after being given two months to hand over £900 for “God’s work”.
Meanwhile, villagers in Borno State appear increasingly to be fighting back. On 23 May, women are reported to have assisted in repelling an evening attack on Attagara Village in Gwoza LGA, when ten members of Boko Haram descended on the area on motorcycles, seven of whom died at the hands of vigilantes after the women raised the alarm. On the evening of 25 May, several sect members died following an encounter with the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) and the military in Kawuri Village in Kandunga LGA. According to the news agency Sahara Reporters, villagers and local hunters had killed at least 100 Boko Haram militants in three different Borno villages by the evening of 26 May.
On 20 May, the Nigerian Senate approved the renewal of the states of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said: “While rejoicing at news that more girls have escaped their captors and at the breakthrough in Jos, we also extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed in these senseless and seemingly relentless attacks. Particularly reprehensible is the reprisal attack on Kumuyya Village, which underlines the fact that as well as indulging in terrorism, Boko Haram is essentially a criminal syndicate that uses religion to extort protection money from vulnerable villagers. The renewal of the state of emergency in, Adamawa Borno and Yobe may stem some of their attacks, but clearly not all. There is a pressing need for a comprehensive overhaul of security arrangements, especially in rural areas, in order to counter Boko Haram and secure the safety of Nigeria’s citizens in both urban and rural settings.”
For further information visit www.csw.org.uk.