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Violence Worsens in Northern Nigeria

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Violence Worsens in Northern Nigeria

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Conflict continues to escalate between the Nigerian military and extremist Islamist group Boko Haram. The sect’s ongoing attacks at public places range from violence at schools, churches and banks to its 2011 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja.

In a recent incident, “Brigadier General Austin Edokpaye said the extremists used heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the assault, which began after soldiers surrounded a mosque they believed housed members of…Boko Haram,” The Associated Press reported.

“Edokpaye said extremists used civilians as human shields during the fighting—implying that soldiers opened fire in neighbourhoods where they knew civilians lived.”

Bodies of victims were unrecognizable as they were retrieved from burned villages and towns. “The Red Cross says it is unclear whether the victims were soldiers, civilians or Islamists as the bodies were so badly charred,” Euronews stated.

The bloodshed was an “escalation in the long-running insurgency in the mainly Muslim north of the country. The violence grew following a 2009 riot by Boko Haram in Maiduguri that resulted in a police and military crackdown that left 700 dead.”

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is a sin” or “Westernization is sacrilege,” is fighting to replace Nigeria’s current form of government with Shariah law.

According to Voice of America, “Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram-related violence has killed an estimated 3,000 people since 2009, a toll that includes killings by security forces.”

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