The Nigerian army managed to save the lives of 455 people who were being held hostage by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram on Friday while also fending off attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, reported News 24 Nigeria.
Thirty-four Boko Haram members died in the attempted assault, and the 455 people who were rescued were found at an “internally displaced persons camp,” according to Bloomberg.
Reuters reported that an army official said Boko Haram struck at the Nigerian army while they were making their way to the town of Damasak.
Boko Haram attacked the 113th Battalion at Kareto, which is in the northern portion of Nigeria’s North East Borno State and close to the Niger border, reported the Daily Post. The Daily Post also reported — in a different article — that a trader going by the name of Haruna Kwandi said that the members of Boko Haram came in military fatigues and that many villagers thought they were members of the army.
eNews Channel Africa reported that the Nigerian military has said, “so far our troops had two officers and 22 soldiers wounded in action. All of them have been evacuated to military hospital (in) Maiduguri where they are receiving treatment.” There are no reported fatalities on the side of the Nigerian army.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, stated that the Nigerian army had recovered “four AK-47 rifles, three AK-47 rifle magazines, and 92 rounds of 7.62mm belt ammunition” in the fighting, reported All Africa.
Because of the violence that Boko Haram has been bringing to the region, many Muslims in Nigeria as well as in neighboring countries have taken it upon themselves to form vigilante militias, which are supposed to hunt down anybody rumored to be affiliated with Boko Haram.
In Nigeria especially, some of the vigilante groups have been seen to have better success than the military, Newsweek reported The New York Times as saying. In fact, according to the same New York Times article, many of the Nigerian military forces seemed to lack protective gear and adequate amounts of ammunition, and there were even 12 soldiers who were sentenced to death for attempted mutiny.
Boko Haram gained worldwide attention back in April of 2014 due to the #Bringbackourgirls campaign, which was sparked after Michelle Obama released a picture of herself holding a piece of paper with the hashtag “Bring back our girls” on it.
The reason behind the hashtag being created was because Boko Haram had captured 276 girls — otherwise known as the Chibok girls — from their school dormitories in the middle of the night. Chibok — like the attack that took place on Friday — also happens to be in the northern region of the Borno state in Nigeria.
Boko Haram, who’s name translates to “people committed to the propagation of the prophet’s teachings and jihad” has been around since 2002 and was first under the leadership of Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed in Maiduguri, Nigeria in 2009. After Muhammed Yusuf’s death, Boko Haram came under the leadership of one Abubakar Shekau, who has been extremely brutal in his attempts to form a mighty Caliphate in Africa.
Boko Haram swore an alliance with ISIS back in March of 2015, which also just happened to be Boko Haram’s most genocidal year on record, killing an estimated 11,000 people. Boko Haram has murdered an estimated 20,000 since 2009.
Naija — The Internet Newspaper For Young Nigerians — reported a military official as saying that “more reinforcements have been deployed. The area is now cool and calm.”
[AP Photo/Sunday Alamba]