While the world watched in horror as the terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded, even deadlier attacks were taking place in Baga, Nigeria where an estimated 2,000 people – mostly women, children, and the elderly – were slaughtered by the violent Muslim terrorist group known as Boko Haram.
Fox News is reporting that hundreds of bodies are still littering the bush around Baga after the terrorists laid siege to the town with explosives and assault rifles, perpetrating what is being called the deadliest massacre yet in the history of this violent group. Most of the dead are women, children and the elderly who were too slow to outrun the Boko Haram fighters who stormed the town with explosives and assault rifles last week.
The raids began after the insurgents seized a key military base on Jan. 3 said Nigerian government spokesman Mike Omeri.
“Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted airstrikes against militant targets,” Omeri said in a statement.
Unfortunately, it was not enough to prevent the massacre.
One survivor of the Baga violence, Ibrahim Gambo, 25, is still looking for his wife and daughter. Gambo, a truck driver, said he was part of a civilian militia that was told by the army to pull back from their defensive positions around Baga because a military plane was being flown there to attack Boko Haram forces. However, the plane never arrived and the people were left defenseless.
“As we were running for our lives, we came across many corpses; both men and women, and even children,” Gambo said. Some had gunshot wounds in the head and others had their hands and legs tied.
Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for another militia trying to fight Boko Haram, mourned the fact that not only were the people slaughtered, but the dead cannot be properly attended. “No one could attend to the corpses and even the seriously injured ones who may have died by now,” he told the Associated Press.
The violence has not stopped, however. This weekend, Boko Haram fighters are suspected of commissioning a 10 year-old female suicide bomber who blew herself up in a busy market in Maiduguri, killing at least 10 and injuring many more. Two more female suicide attackers killed four and injured more than 40 in the town of Potiskum on Sunday.
This is only the latest in a string of increasingly monstrous attacks waged on the Nigerian people by this al Qaeda affiliated group whose aim is to impose a strict enforcement of Sharia law across Nigeria, which is roughly divided between a Muslim north and Christian south.
Their name, which translates to mean “Western education is sin” in the local Hausa language, explains why it has waged some of its most deadly attacks against schools, killing 42 students at a government run boarding school on July 6, 2013 in Yobe State. They gained worldwide recognition after kidnapping more than 250 girls from another school in Chibok in April of this year, most of whom were never released and are now suspected to have been sold into slavery or forced marriages.
Thus far, the government of Nigeria has been ineffective in ridding the country of these murderers, and the international community has done little about it.
When asked about the massacre at a press conference this week, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the Obama Administration is concerned about the situation but expects the Nigerian government to protect its people.
“We are going to continue to work with the Nigerian government on our counterterrorism efforts,” Earnest said. “At the same time, we are also going to continue to urge the Nigerian government to live up to some basic human rights and some principles of basic human rights that sometimes get overlooked out of an effort to try to fight this terrible terrorist scourge that they are dealing with in their country right now.”
Catholic Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama told the BBC’s Newsday programme that the slaughter in Baga proves that the Nigerian military was incapable of stopping Boko Haram.
“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.
He also bemoaned the fact that the massacre was virtually ignored by the international community because it was so focused on the terrorist attacks in Paris.
In just this year alone, Boko Haram has killed an estimated 10,000 people and left more than a million people displaced within the country while hundreds of thousands have fled into neighboring Chad and Cameroon.
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