Insecurity: Boko Haram attacks claim 366 lives in 54 days

No fewer than 366 Nigerians, resident in the volatile North-East region of the country, have been killed in different attacks by the outlawed terror group, Boko Haram, between January 1 and February 22, Saturday Telegraph investigation has revealed.

The figure, which was obtained from different accounts and media reports sighted by this newspaper, showed that in the last 46 days, the renewed onslaught carried out by the terrorists group had escalated, thereby accounting for the high number of deaths recorded.

It was gathered that prior to this investigation, the Boko Haram conflict entered its 10th year in the North-East, with renewed fighting between security forces and group’s factions killing an estimated 640 civilians in 2019 alone.

It was also learnt that an estimated 27,000 people, including 37 aid workers, had been killed since the onset of the conflict in 2009, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

About 37,500 people had been killed since May 2011 according to Global Conflict Tracker, while more than two million had been left homeless and hundreds already abducted in the conflict, despite repeated pledges by the Federal Government that the militants had been defeated. From this, it was gathered that 244,000 Nigerians are already tagged as refugees, according to Global Conflict Tracker.

Though the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had consistently assured Nigerians that it was on top of the situation, there had also been widespread kidnapping, banditry and recurring cycles of deadly violence between suspected herdsmen and farmers across the country.

The insurgency began in 2009, when the jihadist group, Boko Haram, started an armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria. The conflict takes place within the context of longstanding issues of religious violence between Nigeria’s Muslim and Christian communities, and the insurgents’ ultimate aim is to establish an Islamic state in the region.

However, the situation assumed a worrisome dimension when on February 9, 2020 suspected militant Islamists killed at least 30 people and abducted women and children in a raid in Auno Town on a major highway in Borno State, according to Reuters. It was further gathered that most of the victims were travellers, who were burnt to death while sleeping in their vehicles during an overnight stop. Earlier, it was reported on January 3, by local sources that as many as 50 people may have been killed in an attack by Boko Haram on an island in Lake Chad in late December.

On January 6, at least 32 people were killed and over 35 injured when an IED exploded on a crowded bridge in Gamboru, Borno State. The attacks continued on January 7, when a bomb exploded in a market near the Nigerian border with Cameroon, killing at least 30 people and wounded more than 35 others, according to Deutsche Welle. Instructively, 20 soldiers were reportedly killed and more than 1,000 people displaced when a town in Borno State, was attacked by the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), an armed group formerly part of Boko Haram on January 7.

On January 9, at least eight Nigerian soldiers were killed in Monguno, a town in the country’s northeast, after extremists staged a deadly attack, according to a witness. According to AP, members of the Islamic State, West African Province ambushed a convoy of travellers being escorted by soldiers near a military checkpoint at the entrance to Monguno, said an employee of a nongovernmental organisation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to speak to the press.

The group claimed the suicide bombing and subsequent clash, according to SITE Intelligence Group. In a similar fashion, at least four Nigerian soldiers were killed, and seven others injured in a Boko Haram attack in Auno Village (Borno State), which is located on the highway linking Maiduguri and Damaturu (Yobe State), on January 15, according to Garda World News Alert. Similarly, the group on January 18, allegedly attacked a United Nations facility housing several aid groups in Ngala, Borno State. At least, 20 internally displaced persons (IDPs) waiting for assistance at the facility were killed, according to media reports. On January 19, a suspected female Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated her explosives in Kaiga-Kindjiria, western Chad, killing nine civilians.

On same day, ISWAP issued a chilling video of a boy executing a man identified as a Christian hostage. On January 21, Boko Haram insurgents executed Rev. Lawan Andimi, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Adamawa State, after refusing a ransom offered for his release.

Andimi was declared missing on January 2, and a video later emerged on twitter confirming he was in Boko Haram’s custody. Another attack on January 27, revealed that five persons were killed after a Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria, security officials said, according to Agence France- Presse (AFP). Separately, two suicide bombers attacked a mosque in northeast Borno State, killing three and injuring 13 others (Premium Times).

Days later, a Plateau Stateborn Zoology undergraduate from the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), Borno State, Mr. Ropvil Dalyep, was also executed by the terror group, after he was abducted on his was to school from Jos.

It was also reported that insurgents killed four villagers and kidnapped four women around the same area earlier in the month, while 1,200 Chadian troops returned to Chad from Nigeria in order to defend Chadian territory.

On February 5, Boko Haram militants attacked a village in northern Cameroon, burning houses and killing two civilians, according to AFP. On February 13, five Nigerian security forces personnel were killed in a series of attacks, reportedly carried out by the Boko Haram splinter group, the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP), AFP reported. On February 14, suspected bandits invaded two villages in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State, killing 33 people in its wake.

The bandits, it was gathered, were said to have entered Tsauwa and Dankar villages, at the time of prayer, around 6:30pm and burnt several houses, animals and properties worth millions. On February 14, 21 persons were killed by bandits in Giwa Bakali, a village in Fatika District of Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State. It was reliably gathered that 11 of the victims, all members of a family, were said to have been locked up and burnt inside their houses by the bandits while nine are still missing.

However, unconfirmed reports revealed that 90 Christians and nine soldiers were killed in Gwosa by Boko Haram on February 15. On February 16, gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked men of Sector Five of the Special Task Force, Operation Save Haven (OPSH); killing two soldiers and injuring one at X-Land of Barkin Ladi Local Government area of Plateau State.

An eye witness and resident of the area, who preferred anonymity, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the incident occurred on February 16.

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