West & Central Africa

Boko Haram is still the deadliest terrorist group, according to Amnesty

The Boko Haram terrorist groups still ranks as the deadliest extremist group amongst a competitive ‘field’, according to an Amnesty International report, launched on Tuesday 5 September.

The report says that the terror group has killed nearly 400 people by suicide bombings within four months.

“Boko Haram is once again committing war crimes on a huge scale, exemplified by the depravity of forcing young girls to carry explosives with the sole intention of killing as many people as they possibly can,” said Alioune Tine, Director for West and Central Africa, Amnesty International.

“This wave of shocking Boko Haram violence, propelled by a sharp rise in suicide bombings, highlights the urgent need for protection and assistance for millions of civilians in the Lake Chad region,” Alioune said. “Between May and August, seven times more civilians were killed than in the preceding four months, while 100 civilians were killed in August alone.”

In Cameroon, Amnesty said, at least 158 people were killed by the Islamists since April, four times higher than the preceding five months.

“The recent spike in casualties has been driven by increased suicide attacks, with 30 –  more than one per week – carried out since the beginning of April,” it said.

The organization said, “Governments in Nigeria, Cameroon and beyond must take swift action to protect them from this campaign of terror.”

The Nigerian government, on Monday, admitted that is “still going to experience these attacks because of the vast area that we are dealing with… the North-East is equivalent of the whole of the United Kingdom plus Denmark or Switzerland. So, we are dealing with a vast country,” said Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice president, speaking at the 2017 Eid-al-Adha lunch held inside the Presidential Villa, in Abuja.

The Vice-President excused the Nigerian army’s inability to defeat the Islamic terrorist group or to kill the sect’s
leader Abubakar Shekau within 40 days, as directed by the Chief of Army staff in July. “We have managed to ensure that Boko Haram does not hold any territory, but there are still opportunistic attacks here and there… We are still going to experience these attacks because of the vast area that we are dealing with.” Osinbajo said.Boko Haram, in a propaganda video, denounced the government’s claim of taking over the Sambisa region, saying, “We have observed the Eid-el-Kabir prayers peacefully with our brothers, wives and children in Sambisa forest under the leadership of Abu-Muhammad -Ibn-Mahammad Abubakar Shekau.”

In taunts aimed at President Buhari, the narrator, Shuaibu Moni, who was released by the Nigerian government in exchange for 82 Chibok girls, said, “We want to tell the infidels of the world, infidels in Nigeria and even small ants like Buhari and his attack dogs like Kukasheka and Buratai who gave 40-day ultimatum to kill our leader, Abubakar Shekau that here we are celebrating Sallah in Sambisa.

Meanwhile University of Maiduguri lecturers abducted by the Barnawi faction of Boko Haram have written a letter to the Nigerian government lamenting their abandonment by the government and its refusal to negotiate their release.

The letter written, to the Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, by Solomon Yusuf, the lecturer who spoke in the Boko Haram video soon after their abduction, said, “I want to remind the government of the promise made by the vice president while acting president, when he commissioned a rice mill in Kebbi state that ‘Government will do everything possible to get them out alive within the shortest period of time because they were on national assignment.’ The government should please continue to negotiating with the present contact given to them by university of Maiduguri as means of contacting soldiers of Khalifa under the leadership of Abu Mus’ab Albarnawi”

The Nigerian government has not yet commented on the letter or the Amnesty International report.

 

Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and a priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

Image Credits: Screenshot Book Haram Propaganda video/Google image chibokgirls