(Voice of the Persecuted) Northeast Nigeria is suffering from a series of suspected Boko Haram attacks. The increase of female suicide bombers has brought fears that Boko Haram is forcibly using captives in its terror campaign. The group has abducted many girls and women, including the well known kidnapping of over 200 school girls from Chibok. Most of the girls are still missing.
In the center of the region scarred by the Boko Haram insurgency, Nigeria’s military is now moving it’s headquarters to Borno state’s capital, Maiduguri. During his presidential campaign, newly elected President Buhari swore to eliminate the Boko Haram, but the Boko Haram have stepped up their brutal attacks. Since becoming president in the late May, over 200 people have lost their lives to the jihadist militants. Many feel recaptured areas are still under great threat, with the displaced considering return to their own villages dangerous.
On June 22, Maiduguri was devastated when a teenage girl strapped with explosives detonated herself at a bus station killing 30 and injured many. Shortly after the blast, another young female was seen running away from the crowd and detonated at a far distance from others. Concerns have been raised that these girls may have been Boko Haram captives used as suicide bombers.
In separate attacks on Monday and Tuesday, Boko Haram militants sped into Biu and Hawul villages in a convoy of pick ups and motorbikes with guns blazing. At least 42 villagers were shot as they tried to run from the gunmen, others had their throats slit. The militants took property of value, then set homes and businesses ablaze. Both villages were completely burned to the ground.
Yobe state has also come under repeated attacks. On Tuesday, in a village of Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State, a girl between the age of 10-12 yrs. blew herself up in a market, which killed 10 and injured at least 30.
The Islamic group also hit southern Niger on Tuesday, riding in on horses and motorbikes. Five residents of Yebi village were killed in the surprise attack. The village was then burned by the militants.
The U.S. government said those responsible for the deaths must be held accountable.
“We offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of the victims of recent attacks in Borno State, attacks that resulted in more than 40 deaths. We condemn in the strongest terms the continued and widespread violence inflicted by Boko Haram on innocent men, women, and children in Nigeria. Those responsible must be held accountable.”
“These latest attacks serve as a reminder that despite progress on the battlefield, Boko Haram remains capable of deadly and destabilizing acts of terrorism. We commend the efforts by the Nigerian military, as well as the militaries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon for the gains they have made fighting Boko Haram. We encourage the government of Nigeria to take steps to secure and govern liberated areas by filling in behind military successes with police and civilian administration.”
“The United States stands with Nigeria in the face of this threat. We will continue to take steps to increase our support for their efforts,” said Department of State Spokesperson, John Kirby.
The Bishop of Maiduguri is hopeful the jihadists can be stopped.
“We have concrete hope that Boko Haram will be defeated soon. We are praying that Boko Haram will soon become a thing that belongs to the past”, says to Agenzia Fides His Exc. Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme, Bishop of Maiduguri, capital of the Nigerian State of Borno, where on June 22 two girls had carried out two attacks, killing 32 people. New attacks were committed in other areas of Borno State, always by suicide bombers.
According to Mgr. Doeme these attacks, although painful for the high number of victims, “are intended to show that the group is still alive and able to strike after the latest military offensives. We know, however, that Boko Haram has suffered significant losses and lost control of different territories. The defeat of Boko Haram fighters will not happen in one day. It will be necessary to dislodge them from their strongholds, especially in the forest, then proceed towards their complete disarmament”. “We hope that this will happen in the near future. We continue to pray for this to happen”, concludes the Bishop. (Fides)
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