The Islamic Extremist group Boko Haram launched a series of three attacks in Nigeria late last week, killing a total of 79 people. The surprise attacks began on Friday evening and continued late into Saturday. Boko Haram is said to have a problem with the Western education being provided in Nigeria and the lack of a uniform following of Islamic law, which leaves no surprise that the victims include seven worshippers gunned down in their mosque, as well as an Islamic leader and his son.
This takes away any fresh hope that the people of Nigeria may have been feeling after a positive statement was released by the Nigerian security agency just five days prior to the ambushes. That Sunday, the agency claimed that 20 Boko Haram leaders had been arrested, among them some very central and powerful members of the group. The Nigerian government has also been communicating to the people that its military has regained control of some towns that were previously commandeered by Boko Haram. However, it seems now that these announcements and the increasing military efforts of Nigeria will not be enough to prevent the mass killings from continuing.
This tragedy is far from the first that Boko Haram has inflicted on Nigeria, and their kill count is in the thousands. In addition to mass shootings on horseback, like the ones that took place on Friday and Saturday, the group has also been known to bomb various public places such as churches and marketplaces. In April of last year, the Boko Haram snatched more than 250 girls from their school. Since then, a fraction of those girls have managed to get away but the rest still remain in captivity and the Nigerian government has been unable to rescue them.
More than 1.5 million Nigerians have fled from their homes over the years because they fear the havoc that Boko Haram is wreaking on the area. Terrorist attacks and seizures have also taken place in neighboring countries such as Cameroon and Niger, and the support of the Islamic State that Boko Haram wishes to create seems to be growing larger. For a people living in constant fear and anguish, the question remains: Who will strike next, Boko Haram or the Nigerian government? And what will the other side do in response?
[Image courtesy of Spencer Platt / Getty Images]